2022 National Awards of Excellence Honours Exceptional Surf Lifeguards and Volunteers

Monday, 19 September 2022

The Surf Life Saving National Awards of Excellence recognise the outstanding dedication and commitment of surf lifeguards and club members across the country. This year’s winners and award recipients were announced at an awards ceremony at Te Papa in Wellington on Saturday, 17 September.

SLSNZ Chief Executive, Paul Dalton, praises the unwavering resolve of lifeguards and club members across the country, who yet again rose to the challenge of operating under the shadow of Covid-19.

Dalton says, “Last summer was the third year our volunteers had to contend with the ongoing challenges presented by the pandemic. It was also an incredibly busy season, with early warm weather seeing people flocking to the beaches and record numbers of rescues. I’d like to give a heartfelt thanks to the thousands of members who devote their time to keeping beachgoers safe, training and educating our lifeguards, and organising and participating in Sports events that help hone our lifeguards’ skills. The spirit, dedication and generosity of these volunteers is something Surf Life Saving New Zealand is hugely grateful for.”

“The National Awards of Excellence is a fantastic opportunity to acknowledge, honour and celebrate the exceptional achievements of lifeguards, officials, coaches, organisers, athletes and more,” Dalton adds.

Boyd Harris of Pukehina Surf Rescue Club is a worthy winner of the NZ Lottery Grants Board Lifeguard of the Year. Boyd’s dedication and enthusiasm embody the surf lifesaving motto, ‘In it for Life’.

Boyd drives change at all levels of lifeguarding, administration, membership, fundraising, coaching, examining and competing. His sense of community and desire to develop relationships with local clubs and organisations sees Pukehina Surf Rescue reaping the benefits. Empowering through encouragement and education, Boyd always makes himself available to fellow club members.

Pukehina Surf Rescue has seen promising growth and continues to thrive due to the unparalleled effort Boyd Harris puts in year-on-year.

bp Rescue of the Year Award goes to Muriwai Volunteer Lifesaving Service. The daring rescues following a flash flood captured the nation's attention and demonstrated their ability to save lives in a new and challenging environment.

In August 2021, heavy rain in West Auckland flooded buildings, closed roads, brought down trees, and trapped people in their homes. Due to the scale of the flooding and multiple people requiring immediate assistance, the Police enlisted the services of the Muriwai Volunteer Lifeguard Service SAR Squad. Lifeguards used Inflatable Rescue Boats to navigate the flood waters across debris-strewn roads and fields to reach those needing help.

One man was rescued from a shed roof, and another had been stuck inside his garden shed since the previous night, with 1.5m of water flowing around him. A total of 11 people were rescued, and a further 47 were assisted to safety, reunited with family and friends, or their welfare and immediate needs assessed. 

This year the DHL Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Harry Mellor of Red Beach Surf Lifesaving Club. Harry is a valued and respected member of Red Beach SLSC. He demonstrates the essence of lifeguarding as a fundamental part of the club and the lifesaving culture.

Making a substantial contribution to enhancing surf lifesaving at Red Beach, Harry took on many club roles and exposed himself to numerous positions within the Northern Region. Seeking opportunities to improve and learn from more experienced members has resulted in Harry being a highly capable lifeguard at a club and regional level. 

Charlotte Becconsall-Ryan of Warrington Surf Lifesaving Club received the DHL Innovation of the Year Award for developing an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Rip Detection System. 

Aerial surveying is carried out using drones or webcams, which capture a series of images along a coastal region. AI is then used to detect which images contain rips.

The end goal of the Rip Detection System is to provide the public with localised ocean safety information, specifically identifying hazardous coastal regions and reporting these publicly. Beach users can then make better-informed decisions and keep themselves safe.

A digital flipbook with a complete list of awards and recipients (including citations) is available on the SLSNZ website.

Surf Lifesaving New Zealand National Awards Of Excellence - 2022 Winners

NZ Lottery Grants Board Lifeguard of the Year
Boyd Harris - Pukehina SR

DHL Volunteer of the Year
Harry Mellor – Red Beach SLSC

DHL Innovation of the Year
Charlotte Becconsall-Ryan – Warrington SLSC

DHL Instructor of the Year
Ashleigh Hurring - Fitzroy SLSC

bp Rescue of the Year
Muriwai VLS Search and Rescue Squad

TSB Surf Official of the Year
Craig Todd – Sumner SLSC

TSB International Sport Performance of the Year
Danielle McKenzie – Mairangi Bay SLSC

TSB Coach of the Year
Shane Edwards – Sunset Beach LS

Patrol Support of the Year
Cushla McLaren – Waimarama SLSC

London Trophy
North Beach SLSC

Gudsell Trophy
Mairangi Bay SLSC

Life Membership

  • Michael Bassett-Foss - Waimarama SLSC
  • Johnny Clough - United North Piha LS
  • Alan Coates - Mt Maunganui LS
  • James Coe - SLS Kariaotahi
  • Murray Robertson - Wainui SLSC
  • Malcolm Rowson - Whakatane SLSC
  • Joss Urbahn - Foxton SLSC

50 Year Badges

  • Brian Cairns - Waikanae SLSC
  • Colleen Chapman - Orewa SLSC
  • Don Colebourne - Papamoa SLSC
  • Russell Forster - South Brighton SLSC
  • Jessica Given - Mt Maunganui LS
  • Peter Jacobs - Mt Maunganui LS
  • Marilyn Moffatt - Lyall Bay SLSC
  • David Pipe - North Beach SLSC
  • Rod Railey - Piha SLSC
  • Murray Robertson - Wainui SLSC
  • Malcolm Rowson - Whakatane SLSC
  • Alistair Thorpe - Waikanae SLSC
  • Murray Wilson - St Clair SLSC

Distinguished Service Awards

  • Max Corboy - St Kilda SLSC
  • Andrew Lancaster - Muriwai VLS
  • Damian Malloy - Muriwai VLS
  • Leif Neilson - United North Piha LS
  • David Shanks - Orewa SLSC
  • Shaun Smith - Papamoa SLSC
  • Cameron Third - St Kilda SLSC
  • Joss Urbahn - Foxton SLSC

Service Awards

  • Izaak Bates - Pauanui SLSC
  • Laura Beanland-Stephens - Tairua SLSC
  • Nathan Berry - Westshore SLSC
  • Jenny Bishop - Lyall Bay SLSC
  • Sam Blackmore - Spencer Park SLSC
  • Sandra Boubee - Papamoa SLSC
  • David Bourke - St Kilda SLSC
  • Gregory Bowen - Tairua SLSC
  • Peter Boyd - Wainui SLSC & Ngati Porou SLSC
  • Grant Bramwell - Waikanae SLSC
  • Natasha Brewer - Westshore SLSC
  • Joanne Brimelow - Fitzroy SLSC
  • Ian Cairns - Red Beach SLSC
  • Daniel Comp - Wanganui SLSC
  • Talia Comp - Bethells Beach SLSP
  • Leah Cooper - Pacific SLSC
  • Dave Cowdrey - Papamoa SLSC
  • Toni Cranko - Sumner SLSC
  • John Creighton - South Brighton SLSC
  • Rochelle Creighton - South Brighton SLSC
  • Ben Cross - Waimarama SLSC
  • Daniel Cudby - Foxton SLSC
  • Grant Davis-Calvert - Mt Maunganui LS
  • Naomi Davoren - Papamoa SLSC
  • Donal Dray-Hogg - Bethells Beach SLSP
  • Conall Duncan - St Kilda SLSC
  • Mark Edwards - Sunset Beach LS
  • Chris Emmett - Omanu SLSC
  • Glenn Fergus - Sumner SLSC
  • Adam Glenister - Wainui SLSC
  • Chris Haig - St Clair SLSC
  • Michael Harman - Waimarama SLSC
  • Rhys Harman - Waimarama SLSC
  • Nathan Hight - Whangamata SLSC
  • Ryan Hohneck - Papamoa SLSC
  • Ian Horsefield - Westshore SLSC
  • Philippa Ives - Sumner SLSC
  • Luke Keats - Sumner SLSC
  • Mathew Kerr - Tairua SLSC
  • Peter Kramer - Red Beach SLSC
  • James Laver - Waimarama SLSC
  • Natasha Lawrence - SLS Kariaotahi
  • Dean Le Warne - North Beach SLSC
  • Dean Maddaford - Bethells Beach SLSP
  • Greig Madden - Westshore SLSC
  • Alistair Malcolm - Sumner SLSC
  • Brent Matehaere - St Clair SLSC
  • Andrea McKendry - Sumner SLSC
  • Callum McKenzie - Foxton SLSC
  • John McKenzie - Westshore SLSC
  • Joanne Miller - Papamoa SLSC
  • Matthew Newell - Wanganui SLSC
  • Evan Oxborrow - Whangarei Heads
  • Christopher Parker - SLS Kariaotahi
  • Tony Pattison - Waimarama SLSC
  • Michael Peterson - Waimarama SLSC
  • Kelly Pinner - Pauanui SLSC
  • Daryl Poulsen - Spencer Park SLSC
  • Linda Poulsen - Spencer Park SLSC
  • Benjamin Quane - Sumner SLSC
  • Susan Quilter - Wainui SLSC
  • Spencer Raymond - Pauanui SLSC
  • Russell Reardon - Mt Maunganui LS
  • Sean Ridler - Tairua SLSC
  • Jock Rosie - Pauanui SLSC
  • Sean Shivnan - Waikanae SLSC
  • Taylor Shrimpton - Sunset Beach LS
  • Shane Smith - Papamoa SLSC
  • Shannon Swann - SLS Kariaotahi
  • John-Michael Swannix - Whangarei Heads
  • Jamie Troughton - Mt Maunganui LS
  • Stuart Upjohn - Pauanui SLSC
  • Taine Williams - Westshore SLSC
  • Calum Wilson - Waikanae SLSC
  • Anthony Wiseman - Orewa SLSC
  • Thomas Yule - Mt Maunganui LS