Surf Life Saving New Zealand Says Thanks To Volunteers This National Volunteer Week

Monday, 19 June 2023

Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ) is proud to celebrate National Volunteer Week by acknowledging the exceptional contributions of its dedicated volunteers.


From 18 to 24 June, 2023, National Volunteer Week provides an opportunity to recognise and honour the selfless individuals who play a vital role in keeping the country’s beaches safe. 


SLSNZ, a charitable organisation committed to preventing drowning and promoting water safety across New Zealand’s coastlines, owes its success to the unwavering commitment and passion of its 4,600 volunteer Surf Lifeguards. 


Chris Emmett, SLSNZ Acting Chief Executive Officer, said, “Our volunteers are the heart and soul of Surf Life Saving.  They bring far more than their skills and time, they also create critical links into the communities they serve.  We are immensely grateful for their invaluable contributions and unwavering commitment.”


Throughout the year, SLSNZ volunteers patrol beaches, perform rescues, provide first aid, carry out administration tasks, teach others, and educate the public about water safety.  They undergo rigorous training, equipping themselves with essential skills in lifesaving techniques, communication, leadership, and teamwork.  Their expertise and efforts enable SLSNZ to deliver high-quality surf lifesaving services, creating a safer coastal environment for all.


During the 2022/23 season, SLSNZ volunteers helped patrol 92 locations from Ahipara in the Far North to Oreti in Southland, dedicating over 221,000 hours on duty.  Their dedication and hard work paid off as they helped save over 1,200 lives.


This season was particularly challenging for volunteers, as they were an integral part of the emergency response after flooding in Auckland and following Cyclone Gabrielle, which devastated North Island communities earlier this year.


Emmett said, “Despite these challenges, our volunteers bravely rose to the occasion, wholeheartedly supporting their communities.  They demonstrated the best of humanity, ensuring the safety of beachgoers and those affected by the natural disasters.  They also opened their Surf Life Saving Clubs (SLSC) up to help those in need, despite many of them grappling with concerns for their own loved ones and properties.”


In support of its volunteers, SLSNZ has developed a comprehensive Volunteer Strategy, which will be released next month.  This strategy is the result of 18 months of analysis, insights, and experience which will provide a framework that supports SLSNZ volunteers into the future.


Emmett said, “We’re excited about rolling out the Volunteer Strategy as without volunteers our organisation wouldn’t exist.  It’s therefore important to truly value and recognise them, as well as acknowledge the vital role their families and employers play.”


The strategy is built upon the concept of whanaungatanga (relationships), which emphasises the significance of creating a sense of kinship and connection among volunteers.  This is achieved through shared experiences and working together, which ultimately provides them with a sense of belonging within the organisation.


SLSNZ encourages everyone to join in celebrating National Volunteer Week by saying thanks to the volunteers who generously give their time and skills. 


To learn more about SLSNZ, its surf lifesaving services, and how you can support or become a volunteer, visit