SLSNZ Announces Winners of Otago & Southland Awards of Excellence

Monday, 1 January 0001

Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ) is proud to announce the winners of the Otago and Southland Awards of Excellence.


Held on Friday, 17 May at the Edgar Centre in Dunedin, the awards not only acknowledged the incredible skills, commitment, and effort by surf lifeguards but also honoured those who educated others, managed administration, and participated in lifesaving sport throughout the 2023/2024 season.


Stu Bryce, SLSNZ Southern Regional Manager, said, “Well done to all winners.  Every one of them represents the very best of Surf Life Saving, and they all had an inspiring season, whether that was at the beach between the red and yellow flags, competing against their fellow clubbies, or behind the scenes making sure the lights stayed on.


“I’d also like to congratulate all those who didn’t win but nonetheless played an important role during the season.  Surf lifesaving is a team effort and relies on everyone pitching in and working together.  We’re lucky to have a fantastic community in Otago and Southland who turn up every season for the betterment of their communities, and I couldn’t be prouder.”


Fiona Wilkinson from Kaka Point Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC) won NZ Lottery Grants Board Volunteer of the Year.  Along with being a surf lifeguard, Fiona also holds several roles at the club, including Surf Lifeguard Coordinator, Committee Member, Surf Lifeguard Award Instructor, athlete, and Junior Surf coach.


Carla Murray, Kaka Point SLSC Powercraft Coordinator, said, “Fiona is a dedicated member of the Kaka Point SLSC.  She’s committed to the club’s growth and success and making sure the red and yellow flags are up every weekend during the summer.


“She has a can-do attitude and is a positive role model on the beach, leading by example.  She is also focussed on building the Kaka point SLSC membership and community awareness for beach safety.  She’s well known within the community and takes steps to recruit and future-proof the club.”


Madelene Ozanne from Warrington SLSC won the DHL Surf Lifeguard of the Year.  Despite being just 20 years old, she leads the Warrington SLSC patrol team, ensuring they are trained, resourced, and ready to keep beachgoers safe throughout summer.


Naomi Ingram, Warrington SLSC Committee Member, said, “By sheer number alone, Madelene has been an outstanding surf lifeguard this season.  She has committed 83 volunteer hours out of 260 registered hours to surf lifesaving.  I use the word ‘registered’ because this does not account for the hours Madelene has spent in club meetings, supporting the marketing and communications of the club, and reinstating the Rookie Programme.


“Madelene is also enthusiastic about the club and its member, which is reflected through her positive attitude towards all members and staff.  She is an approachable and respected role model, especially for younger club members.”


The Otago and Southland Awards of Excellence brought together Surf Life Saving clubs from across the South Island, including Warrington, St Kilda, St Clair, Brighton, Kaka Point, and Oreti.



Full List of Winners:


Surf Sports Official of the Year

Mark Familton – Warrington


Event Safety Contribution of the Year

Paul Gager – Warrington


Coach of the Year

Peter Gibbons – St Kilda


Surf Sports Team of the Year

Warrington Open Female Canoe Team – Warrington


Junior Surf Contribution of the Year

Jon Richardson – St Clair


Junior Surf Coach of the Year

Isaac Davies – St Clair


Surf Sportsperson of the Year

Charlotte Aburn – St Clair


bp Powercraft Contribution of the Year

Dave Clarke – Brighton


bp Search and Rescue Contribution of the Year

Max Corboy – St Kilda


Instructor of the Year

Gabby Trotter – Brighton


Examiner of the Year

Carla Murray – St Clair/Kaka Point


bp Rescue of the Year

St Kilda – 15 February 2024


Rookie Lifeguard of the Year

Belinda McLellan – St Clair

Fergus Laws – Warrington

Harry Boyle – Warrington

Steve Kahui – Brighton


DHL U19 Lifeguard of the Year

Sam McLellan – St Clair


DHL Patrol Support of the Year

Teena Joyce – Brighton


DHL Surf Lifeguard of the Year

Madelene Ozanne – Warrington


NZ Lottery Grants Board Volunteer of the Year

Fiona Wilkinson – Kaka Point


Innovation Award

Oreti SLSC – Patrol Caravan


Club of the Year

St Kilda


Patrol Club of the Year

Kaka Point