2022 SLSNZ Taranaki 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 Taranaki 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. Volunteers from Surf Life Saving Clubs at Wanganui, New Plymouth Old Boys, Fitzroy, Opunake and East End make up the Taranaki region. 

Joel Meuli, Surf Life Saving New Zealand Central Region Club Support Officer says “Across the board, our statistics have increased from previous seasons. More people at beaches, more interventions and more rescues. Fortunately for the region, the volunteers have been working hard and we have seen more clubbies gain their Lifeguard Award this year than in the previous five seasons. We have also passed more first aid, Patrol Captain and IRB Driver Awards. Thanks to all of the volunteers’ work passing awards and up-skilling our beaches are now safer and better equipped to handle situations that may arise.” 

The honour of Lifeguard of the Year goes to Macy Sinclair an upstanding member of the Opunake Surf Life Saving Club. This year Macy took on Patrol Captain duties as well as instructing new Lifeguards within the club. Macy also helped with Junior Surf and was engaging with the younger members. She regularly made herself available to represent the club within the community, with school visits, talking to local groups and as one of the leaders for the Christmas parade. Macy put in a total of 99 volunteer hours, a huge undertaking and when considered with the countless hours she put in to instruct Opunake’s new lifeguards, shows how massive of a season she had. 

Taranaki Lifeguard of the Year, Macy Sinclair

The Volunteer of the Year winner is Darren James from Fitzroy SLSC. Darren takes on a multitude of roles at the club, getting stuck into whatever job needs to be done. His widespread involvement includes sitting on the Fitzroy club committee and acting as the club representative on the Lifesaving Committee, Mount Monster team Manager, fundraising, organising, instructing and coaching Junior Surf, active Patrol member, and helping coordinate Junior Surf Carnival. Darren is also well-known as the club cook, spending countless hours prepping food and cooking for carnivals or club fundraising evenings, his speciality being the "best butter chicken going". 

Taranaki Volunteer of the Year, Darren James

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

Sportsperson of the Year goes to Joe Collins once again after scooping the Award last year. While Joe was unable to compete in any regional competitions this year due to Covid-19 cancellations, he achieved some fantastic international results with 10th equal finish at the 2022 Nutrigrain Ironman series, 3rd place finish in the Australian Open Ironman at the Australian Champs and 1st place finish in the Surf Teams race at the Australian Championships. Joe was hoping to attend both the Eastern Regional Championships and National Championships but due to border restrictions was unable to make either event. We look forward to seeing Joe competing in New Zealand next season! 

Taranaki Sports Person of the Year, Joe Collins

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. 

Taranaki Awards of Excellence Major Winners 

Award Category 



Instructor of the Year 

Ashleigh Hurring 


Lifeguard of the Year 

Macy Sinclair 


U19 Sportswoman of the Year 

Tara Shotter 

East End 

U19 Sportsman of the Year 

Caleb Lawn 


Sportswoman of the Year 

Claudia Kelly 

East End 

Sportsman of the Year 

Joe Collins 


Sportsperson of the Year 

Joe Collins 


U19 Sports Team of the Year 

Opunake ‘Oriental Express’ IRB Team 


Senior Sports Team of the Year 



Coach of the Year 

Carl Barnes 


Surf Official of the Year 

Joanne Brimelow 


Volunteer of the Year 

Darren James 


Michael Taylor Award 

Paul Baker 

East End