Harry Mellor joins a coveted surf lifesaving cohort winning the DHL Volunteer of the Year Award

Friday, 30 September 2022

Harry Mellor has been in the surf competitively since he was just 7 years old, and at 22 he is already a surf lifesaving veteran, mentoring young lifeguards keen to develop their leadership potential.

A lifelong love of the water and his unwavering commitment to helping others has seen Harry win the prestigious DHL Volunteer of the Year Award at Surf Lifesaving New Zealand (SLSNZ) 2022 National Awards of Excellence.

SLSNZ depends on its 4,500+ Surf Lifeguard volunteers across the country to help improve water safety and get people home safely from the beach. Without volunteers like Harry, the national lifesaving service simply wouldn’t run as effectively as it does. Harry exemplifies the power of volunteering, and his dedication to encouraging more young people into SLSNZ has earned him a top spot at this year’s awards.   

A member of Red Beach Surf Lifesaving Club (SLSC), Harry became a qualified lifeguard at 14. His love of the water and the friendships he’s made throughout his years at Red Beach SLSC have driven his interest in lifeguarding, but it was the mentoring he had when he was younger that has shaped his commitment to helping other up-and-coming lifeguards.

Harry has numerous volunteer roles within his local club and regionally, including Head Instructor of Northern Region’s Intermediate Lifeguard School and Head Mentor of Northern Region’s Youth Development Camp, as well as several other strategic roles that encourage young people into surf lifesaving and establish clear pathways to leadership roles.

“I really enjoy running the development courses and teaching the younger ones. I was lucky enough to have great mentors when I was growing up and I wanted to give back myself,” says Harry.

“I wouldn’t have had the opportunities to grow within the club without the support of Dan Short (a clubbie at Mairangi Bay and United North Piha) who mentored me and encouraged me into leadership positions,” explains Harry.

Harry is also studying a Master of Architecture and juggles his studies with paid summer lifeguarding and his volunteering roles. He says the skills he’s learnt from volunteering at the club have been invaluable to his studies and career aspirations.

“I love the water and it’s what gets me out into the surf each day, the skills I’ve learnt and can apply to my studies and everyday life have been an unexpected bonus!” says Harry.

Harry plans to gain experience as a lifeguard in the UK and the US once he completes his studies and encourages everyone to give it a go as you never know what will be around the corner.

“Pursue what you want, try your hand at everything – give it a go, you never know what might come of it!”