Thank you to our Surf Lifeguard legends on National Volunteer Week

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

23rd June 2021
Press Release

Thank you to our Surf Lifeguard legends on National Volunteer Week

This week is Te Wiki Tūao ā-Motu National Volunteer Week (20-26 June) and we’d like to take a moment to thank every one of our  4,500+ Surf Lifeguard volunteers for contributing their time, effort and skills to keep New Zealanders safe at the beach.

Over the last ten years, Surf Lifeguards have carried out 10,229 recues, 6,545 assists and 2,946 searches. That’s a massive number of potential drownings averted due to the commitment and contribution by our force of Surf Lifeguard volunteers. The past decade has also seen an incredible 951,695 preventative actions carried out by our volunteers.

Patrolling over 80 locations across Aotearoa’s beaches, our volunteers come from many different walks of life, spanning a wide range of ages. Each exceptional in their own right, Surf Life Saving New Zealand is proud to have them all in our ranks and thankful for their dedication to our mission - to make sure Kiwis get home safe from the beach.

One such legend is John Tuia, a rugby player, apprentice builder and volunteer Surf Lifeguard at Wellington’s Maranui Surf Life Saving Club. Tuia, who arrived in New Zealand with his family from Samoa at age eight, is passionate about raising beach safety awareness within Pasifika communities. What motivates John is the people and the positive Surf Lifesaving environment. He says, “Something that I love about Surf Lifesaving is the culture. We all have something in common.”  

John Tuia

Another dedicated volunteer is Hannah Williams a Masters in Marine Science student at the University of Otago who also finds time for her role as Surf Lifeguard at Dunedin’s St Clair Surf Life Saving Club. Hannah is the kind of person you’d want beside you in an emergency. The 22 year-old exudes calm, competent energy and, as her fellow Surf Lifeguards can confirm, she has the skillset to back it up. “I absolutely love everything about Surf Lifesaving and it’s an empowering place to be a woman” says Williams.

Hannah Williams

Greg Wilson’s day job is Police Sergeant with the Waitematā District. He works on the front line and believes policing is a natural career progression from Surf Lifesaving. A long-time volunteer at Piha Surf Life Saving Club, for over twenty years Wilson says, ““Policing is a job that has a lot of parallels to surf. You get to work with a team of like-minded people all working alongside each other doing the right thing”. 

Greg Wilson

This is a sentiment echoed by many volunteer Surf Lifeguards, who enjoy the camaraderie and friendships developed working alongside some incredible people. Hannah Williams sums this up saying, “I’ve never met a group of human beings who are more courageous, more caring and more willing to put their lives on the line for others”. 

We’re “In it for Life.”