An End of an Era for Surf Life Saving New Zealand

Wednesday, 17 May 2023

After an extraordinary 11-year journey at the helm of Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ), Chief Executive Officer Paul Dalton is preparing to conclude his tenure. 


His exceptional leadership has been pivotal in shaping SLSNZ into the financially stable and versatile organisation it is today, as under Paul’s guidance, SLSNZ transcended its previous challenges and established itself as a strong movement within the community.


His first two years with the organisation were particularly difficult, as SLSNZ embarked on a new era, following the Groundswell Project.  However, Paul’s collaborative leadership style proved to be effective in navigating this new landscape.


This also set a precedent for SLSNZ to pursue government funding.  The concept of “we are stronger together” was validated as SLSNZ demonstrated its collective strength in seeking financial support.


More recently, the 2022/23 season served as a testament to SLSNZ’s capabilities, as Surf Lifeguards not only patrolled beaches but also played a vital role in responding to the National State of Emergency following the devastating Cyclone Gabrielle.  This truly showcased the strength and versatility of SLSNZ, further highlighting its critical role in safeguarding New Zealand. 


Paul’s unwavering commitment and tireless efforts have been instrumental in propelling the organisation to this current position.  His exceptional leadership laid the solid foundations upon which SLSNZ thrives today.


Paul Carlyon, Chairman of SLSNZ, expressed his gratitude, saying, “Paul has a lot to be very proud of.  On behalf of the SLSNZ Board and our membership, we extend our thanks for everything he’s done and wish him all the best for what’s coming next for him and his family.  We are so grateful to Paul, we will miss him, and we are sure the rest of the organisation will too.”


Throughout his tenure, Paul’s collaborative approach, thoughtful leadership, and financial acumen have significantly benefited the wider Surf Life Saving movement in New Zealand.  His ability to forge strong relationships with members and partners has further strengthened the organisation’s foundation.


Paul Carlyon said, “His departure leaves behind a remarkable legacy, and we will undoubtedly feel his absence.  However, we remain grateful for the tremendous impact he has had on the organisation.”


As SLSNZ embarks on the next phase of its journey, the board has appointed Chris Emmett as the Acting CEO, ensuring a seamless transition to the new CEO.


With Paul’s departure, SLSNZ stands ready to build upon his achievements and continue its mission of ensuring the safety of beachgoers.  The movement remains deeply grateful for his outstanding leadership and dedication, which will forever be etched in the history of SLSNZ.