2022 SLSNZ Canterbury Awards of Excellence winners announced

Friday, 17 June 2022

Dedicated volunteer Surf Lifeguards, coaches, instructors, and athletes have been celebrated at the Surf Life Saving New Zealand’s Canterbury Awards of Excellence. The awards honour the volunteers who have devoted numerous hours to keeping our beaches and people safe and Lifesaving Sport athletes who have shone in competition.  

Stu Bryce, Surf Life Saving New Zealand Southern Region Manager says, “The Canterbury Awards of Excellence was a great night recognising and celebrating all our volunteers from throughout the region who have gone above and beyond to continue to provide club and regional programmes in what has been a massive season.” 

He adds, “Dean Le Warne was recognised as Volunteer of the Year for the countless hours he puts into the movement. There aren’t many areas within his club space and the regional programmes that he is not involved with. We applaud Dean for his ‘never say no’ attitude and his ability to engage with members throughout.” 

 “South Brighton won Club of the Year for the second year in a row, which is a pretty mammoth effort to win this back-to-back, showing the massive amount of work put in behind the scenes by some key people within the club.”  

The honour of Lifeguard of the Year goes to Zeke De Gouw from Spencer Park Surf Life Saving Club. Zeke has gone above and beyond this season, branching out from his many club rolls into the district. His highly engaging personality and ability to make people at ease whatever the situation has been well received by all. At club level, Zeke is a dedicated patrol captain, SAR member and IRB officer, he was also a mentor at Intermediate Guard School. He is an extremely valued member of Spencer Park and is continuously looking at ways to develop himself and others in the Lifeguarding pathway. Zeke is an extremely capable Lifeguard and therefore can take on tasks with confidence. When he is not volunteering at the beach, he also commits his spare time as a fully trained volunteer firefighter. 

Canterbury Lifeguard of the Year - Zeke De Gouw

The Volunteer of the Year winner is Dean Le Warne an invaluable member of North Beach Surf Life Saving Club. Dean is currently the Club Captain, Junior Surf Coordinator, Club Instructor for both Lifeguards and IRBs, a Patrol Captain, has coached the oceans programme, runs the Sunday programmes, assisted the Rookie programme, runs Senior Sport training as well as being on the club fundraising committee. Dean also gives up tireless hours assisting the region in all aspects of surf lifesaving. He played a vital piece in the event delivery of Junior Surf programmes and events this season and is an extremely respected Surf Official on the beach. He also is a Lifeguard Examiner and helps at many lifesaving development activities and programmes. All year round, Dean contributes to all areas of Surf Life Saving to positively engage and increase capability throughout his club and the whole Canterbury area. 

Canterbury Volunteer of the Year - Dean Le Warne

Part of this year’s major awards also covers all aspects of Surf Lifesaving Sport to celebrate the officials, coaches and high performance athletes. 

Luke Smith, Southern Region Sport Manager says, “Craig Todd was our Surf Official of the Year after his significant contribution to this space. If you’ve been involved in Surf Sports this season, you have plenty to be grateful for from Craig. He was event referee for Southern Region Pool Rescue Championships, Southern Region Junior Championships, Southern Region Championships and the bp Surf Rescue South Island Championships, showing his ability to lead across all aspects of Surf Sport event delivery.” 

Luke adds, “Craig is a real mentor for up-and-coming officials, and continuously found ways to programme and deliver events all season, meaning we didn’t lose a single event all year due to COVID. Thus, resulting in 27 local events delivered, and being the only region to deliver all of our regional championship events, no matter the restrictions we were faced with.” 

Sportsperson of the Year goes to Rosie Falcous from South Brighton who excelled in the beach event space this season, and achieved some incredible results all Summer. At Southern Region Championships, Rosie won gold in the U19 and Open Beach Sprints, U17 and U19 Beach Flags, and the U17, U19 and Open Beach Relay. She also was third overall competitor for the U17 and U19 female age groups. Rosie competed in 'The Invitational' for Team Kelly, who was top overall team at this event. Following on from her excellent results, Rosie has been named in the SLSNZ Junior Black Fins team to compete at the 2022 Lifesaving World Championships in Riccione, Italy this September. Rosie has a huge future ahead of her and is a role model for up-and-coming beachies in Canterbury and the Southern Region. 

Luke comments, “Rosie Falcous was named Sportsperson of the Year after achieving consistently all season long, resulting in her being selected for the Junior Black Fins team to compete at the 2022 Lifesaving World Championships in Riccione, Italy this September.” 

Canterbury Sportsperson of the Year, Rosie Falcous

The Surf Life Saving NZ Awards of Excellence are held every year in each SLSNZ region to recognise and celebrate the many club members putting in considerable time, effort and skills at a grass-roots level to make sure Kiwis who head to the beach get home safe. The regional awards culminate in the National Awards of Excellence which will be held on September 17th. 

Canterbury Awards of Excellence Major Winners 

Award Category 



Instructor of the Year 

Brendon Ferguson 


Lifeguard of the Year 

Zeke De Gouw 

Spencer Park 

Sportsperson of the Year 

Rosie Falcous 

South Brighton  

Patrol Club of the Year 

North Beach 


Club of the Year 

South Brighton 


Coach of the Year 

Daryl Poulsen 

Spencer Park 

Surf Official of the Year 

Craig Todd 


Volunteer of the Year 

Dean Le Warne 

North Beach