Oceans ’23 junior Life Savers event to go ahead in Tauranga

Monday, 20 February 2023

Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ) has confirmed that its Oceans ’23 Festival of Junior Surf Lifesaving event scheduled to take place on Mt Maunganui’s main beach in Tauranga from 23-26 February will go ahead.


SLSNZ Chief Executive Paul Dalton said: “While our thoughts are with everyone impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle, we have made the decision to go ahead with Oceans ’23 to bring some much-needed positivity to those who are still able to attend. This decision has not been taken lightly. Postponement or cancellation was considered. However, we have decided to proceed because this event was cancelled in 2022 due to COVID-19 and we know how many people were looking forward to this year's festival.” 


Around 700 junior SLSNZ members, and their families and friends, are expected to descend on Mt Maunganui for the Oceans `23 Festival of Junior Surf Lifesaving.


“We’re hopeful that, the weather and associated factors permitting, we’ll get an excellent turnout and that the Festival will prove to be particularly memorable for those taking part as Oceans is the biggest junior carnival of the season.”


The four-day Festival aims to provide an opportunity for junior members, aged 10 – 14 years old, to challenge themselves and celebrate the camaraderie of surf lifesaving in a fun, exciting, and safe beach and surf environment.


Lewis McClintock, SLSNZ’s National Sports Manager, says: “Oceans is an event that our junior members, our future lifeguards, aspire to attend and plays an important role in retaining and growing membership for clubs and the Surf Lifesaving movement.


“SLSNZ would like to thank Tauranga City Council for their incredible support, which has helped enable this event to go ahead.”


Nelita Byrne, Tauranga City Council Manager: Venues and Events, says: “As Tauranga city is surrounded by both moana and awa, our people have a natural affinity to the water; we are excited to host the next generation of surf lifesavers in Aotearoa and we know the importance of the role they play in our community.


“We wish all junior surf lifesavers and their whānau a fantastic carnival and an enjoyable stay in our city.”


This is the 23rd edition of the Oceans Festival. The last full-scale event was held in 2020, as the 2022 event was cancelled and the 2021 event scaled back due to the COVID-19 restrictions. All previous Ocean Festivals have been at Mt Maunganui except the 2018 event, which was in Orewa.