Rotary Clubs’ Generosity Enhances Communication for Hawke’s Bay Surf Life Saving Clubs

Friday, 1 December 2023

Communication will be flowing freely for Hawke’s Bay Surf Life Saving teams this summer, thanks to the remarkable generosity of Rotary.


Three Rotary clubs - Stortford Lodge and Hastings in Hawke’s Bay, together with Warkworth, north of Auckland - donated a combined $20,500 following a presentation by Jess Bennett, the Hawke’s Bay Search and Rescue (SAR) Coordinator.


Ken Haines, Stortford Lodge Rotary President, said, “The work surf lifeguards carried out earlier this year during and following Cyclone Gabrielle was heroic.  After listening to Jess speak about what was involved in this and how they stepped up when their community needed them the most, it inspired us to give back.”


When the Cyclone struck, surf lifeguards worked alongside Fire and Emergency New Zealand, conducting rescues and providing valuable assistance in some of the most severely impacted areas.


Reflecting on the challenges they faced, Jess Bennett said, “It was an incredibly testing time for our team.  The conditions we were dealing with were nothing like we had experienced before.  However, despite this, surf lifeguards felt enormous pride in being able to help.”


The donation from the Rotary clubs has enabled the Hawke’s Bay SAR Squad to buy 10 state-of-the-art digital portable radios equipped with microphones, two portable pelican charging cases, and four single chargers.


Haines said, “Part of our mission as Rotary clubs is to provide services to others and promote integrity and goodwill.  We know our donation is doing exactly that.  The work surf lifeguards do is integral, and it stretches well beyond the red and yellow flags.  They provide an incredible service, so it’s important they have the necessary equipment, like radios and chargers, to make sure they can carry out this work effectively.”


Bennett said, “we are deeply moved by the generosity of the Rotary clubs.  This equipment will complement our existing radios, enhancing our capabilities as we transition to the digital radio network, which is currently being developed in Hawke’s Bay.  This will enable us to ensure the safety of our surf lifeguards by providing crucial communications during both training and operational activities.”


With the busy summer period here, the seamless flow of communication among surf lifeguards will be essential as they continue their work in ensuring everyone who spends the day at the beach returns home safe and sound.