After a two-year hiatus, SLSNZ celebrates the standout Lifeguarding and Surf Lifesaving Sport achievements at the Awards of Excellence event

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

For the past two years, the annual Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ) Awards of Excellence event has been cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions. Finally, the shining stars of Lifeguarding and Surf Lifesaving Sport were able to gather once again, to be recognised for their outstanding efforts and achievements. The prestigious Awards event took place on Saturday 21st May at Te Papa in Wellington.  

Although the winners of the 2020-21 season had already been announced digitally last year, levels of excitement and spirits were high, with attendees delighted to reconnect and celebrate in person.  

Paul Dalton, SLSNZ CEO says “It was a pleasure to see the Surf Lifesaving community come together at the Awards of Excellence this weekend. It was a fantastic night of celebration for the hard work, dedication and triumphs of our lifeguards, athletes, coaches, officials and support people.” 

The event was MCed by Jim Kayes, a talented sports media commentator with a strong family connection to lifesaving at Red Beach SLSC, providing a lively and entertaining tone for the night’s events. 

Surf Life Saving New Zealand was delighted to have representatives from its major partners, bp, DHL, TSB and Toyota Financial Services attending the event and presenting the awards sponsored by their organizations. Paul Dalton says, “The involvement of our partners is vital to help us keep people safe across New Zealand’s beaches. It was heartening to see the broad reach of the Surf Lifesaving with two of our partner’s representatives having personal connections to the movement. Madeleine Russell from DHL, having been a lifeguard in her younger years and James Court from bp becoming involved in coaching as his children take part in Junior Surf.” 

There were many touching moments over the course of the evening as the winners went up to the stage to collect their awards. One particularly moving acceptance was given by Janine Branje for the 2021 DHL Innovation on the Year Award which went to the Emily B Drifter Project, created in loving memory of her daughter Emily.  

After many poignant speeches, lots of laughter and enjoyment by all the Zealand SLSNZ Awards of Excellence came to a close late on Saturday night. The SLSNZ Regional Awards of Excellence for the 2021-22 season are currently underway across the country. The regional winners will go into the National Awards as finalists, with the final winners announced later this year at subsequent SLSNZ Awards of Excellence event due to take place at Te Papa on the 17th of September.