2022 SLSNZ Gisborne/Tairāwhiti Awards of Excellence winners announced

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Dedicated volunteer Surf Lifeguards, coaches, instructors, and athletes have been celebrated at the Surf Life Saving New Zealand’s Gisborne/Tairāwhiti  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.  

Avan Polo, Surf Life Saving New Zealand Eastern Region Manager says “I’d like to thank all our dedicated volunteers who have given their time and energy to keep people safe at Gisborne/Tairāwhiti beaches this year. Clubs in the region did a fantastic job keeping patrols going under the challenging conditions and changing restrictions that Covid-19 presented.” 

Over the 2021-22 season Lifeguards put in 4,869 patrol hours across Gisborne/Tairāwhiti beaches. There were 17 rescues undertaken, 40 people were assisted back to shore and eight searches were carried out. 28 people were given first aid treatment by Lifeguards and 1,972 preventative actions were implemented to keep beachgoers out of trouble. 

The Volunteer Lifeguard of the Year winner is Ana Naden from Waikanae SLSC. Ana was an exemplary Patrol Captain this season, engaging with her team regularly and effectively. She led by example and took part in all aspects of patrol. Ana proved herself to interact very well with the public, was always friendly and approachable and provided clear and correct on where to swim and what areas to avoid. Ana is involved in many aspects of the club from running club refreshers and inductions to instructing Rookies, managing first aid and IRB equipment, Event Lifeguarding for club events and sitting on the Lifeguard Sub-Committee. She was also involved in BP Leaders for life and National Lifeguard School where she was one of the top candidates and presented herself and the movement very well. 

Chaz Gibbons-Campbell. Eastern Region Lifesaving Manager says, “Ana has contributed extensively to her club both in Lifesaving and Sport, has inspired many Junior Guards, as well as upskilling herself by completing National Lifeguard School and BP Leaders for Life.” 

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

Sonia Keepa, Eastern Region Sport Manager says, “We were very fortunate in Tairāwhiti over the Summer season that we were able to deliver all of our Sport events, namely our larger events the Gisborne Senior and Gisborne Junior Champs within the Covid Protection Framework. Unfortunately for our Surf Sport Athletes the pinnacle events of the season, Eastern Region Championships for Senior and Juniors, along with the SLSNZ Nationals were cancelled. The perseverance and adaptability of our Lifeguarding Athletes was testament to the calibre of athletes we have here with a large number being recognised in NZ Squads.” 

She adds, “We are very proud that the following athletes have been named in the NZ Junior Black Fins Team who will travel to Italy in September for the World Champs; Jack Keepa, Lachie Falloon, Oska Smith and Summer Rolston, all of Waikanae SLSC. We also wish the best for selection in the coming weeks for the following Senior Surf Sport Athletes hoping they also make the team – Briana Irving, Christy Tate, Seven Mapu, Michael Pickett and Michael Hanna of Waikanae SLSC along with Olivia Corrin, Chris Dawson and Cory Taylor from Midway SLSC.” 

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. 

Gisborne Awards of Excellence Major Winners 

Award Category 



Volunteer Lifeguard of the Year 

Ana Naden 


Regional Lifeguard of the Year 

Daniel Beattie 


Emerging Lifeguard of the Year 

Ruby Lobb 


Instructor of the Year 

Sonia Keepa 


Examiner of the Year 

Belinda Slement 


Patrol Support Person of the Year 

Anna Briant 


Patrol Captain of the Year 

Belinda Slement 


International Individual Sport Performance of the Year   

Seven Mapu   


Sports Team of the Year 

Open Women IRB Team (Britta Carroll and Ana Naden)   


Coach of the Year 

Arna Majstrovic   


Emerging Coach of the Year   

Freya Wilson   


Surf Official of the Year 

Dion Williams   


Emerging Surf Official of the Year   

Jessica Bridson