Sport Hall of Fame

'The SLSNZ Sport Hall of Fame is to acknowledge outstanding competitive performances by members of our organisation so that their achievements in surf sport are not forgotten and can inspire future generations'.

The Hall of Fame was established in 1990 with fifteen people inducted.  Second and third inductions were completed in 1995 and 2007 respectively.  While there are many variables associated with looking to compare competitive performance between athletes and in different disciplines the role of the Hall of Fame Committee is to apply best endeavors to develop consistency and relativity to ensure credibility from one induction to the next.

2021 Sport Hall of Fame Induction

(2011 to 2015 Period)

Congratulations to the 2021 Hall of Fame inductees Paul Cracroft -Wilson, Katie Watts, Emma Crofskey, Samantha Lee, Steph Laughton, Carla Laughton. We are incredibly proud of all that you have contributed to and achieved in Surf Lifesaving Sport.

Paul Cracroft-Wilson - Fitzroy

When a young Taranaki boy left the black sands of Fitzroy Beach for the golden sands of the Gold Coast in 2007, he had no idea the trail blazing achievements that would follow in the years to come or the great legacy in a sport he did just for fun.  Paul started his surf lifesaving journey as a nipper at NPOB in the late 1990's and moved across to Fitzroy in the early 2000's. His first taste of success in the Open Men’s division came in 2005 when he won the beach sprint title for the first time. A title he would go on to defend again in 2006, 2007 and later on in 2016.

But it was musical sticks or in the surf lifesaving world "beach flags" that Paul truly excelled in. Beach flags could sometimes be a race of chance, luck and skill. It took great mental toughness, power, speed and strength to go round after round until only one stick and two people were left. This event was Paul's specialty and one he dominated in our sport for the better part of seven New Zealand titles 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016.

Paul's success on the sand awarded him numerous call ups to the New Zealand team from 2007 through to 2016. Paul was an integral part of the unstoppable New Zealand Black Fins Teams that won Worlds in 2012, 2014 and 2016. Paul captained the NZ Team in 2011 and 2015 for the International Surf Rescue Challenges.

New Zealand Team Representation

  • Tri Nationals Team – 2007
  • International Surf Rescue Challenge – 2013, 2015
  • New Zealand Teams - 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016

Worlds Results

  • Italy 2004 - 2nd Beach Flags
  • Germany 2008 - 1st Beach Sprint, 2nd Beach Flags
  • Egypt 2010 - 1st Beach Flags, Beach Relay
  • Adelaide 2012 - 2nd Beach Flags, Beach Relay
  • Netherlands 2016 - 2nd Beach Flags

New Zealand National Surf Life Saving Championships Results

  • 1st Beach Flags - 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016
  • 1st Beach Sprint - 2005, 2006, 2007, 2016
  • 1st Beach Relay - 2014
  • Taranaki Team - 2010, 2011, 2012 - Overall Winners for New Zealand Surf League

Aussies Results

  • 1st Beach Flags - 2007
  • 2nd Beach Flags - 2006, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010
  • 3rd Beach Sprint - 2011
  • 1st Beach Relay - 2008, 2009, 2010
Anna Ballara.png

Katie Watts & Emma Crofskey - Fitzroy

When a national board champ and a beach flagger teamed up to race IRBs, neither of them knew the legacy they would leave on the sport.  In 2006 Emma Crofskey jumped in a boat with Katie Watts for the first time together with just six weeks until the National Champs at Paekakariki Beach. They walked away with gold in the tube rescue, silver in the single rescue and bronze in the mass rescue. The combined results/points were good enough to land the girls first equal for the Foxton Shield (top overall women’s team), which they would go on to hold for the next five years. A feat that no other women’s crew in the county had achieved before.  The 2006 Nationals were also the first time Fitzroy Surf Life Saving Club became the country’s champion IRB club, a title they went on to hold for three consecutive years in 2006, 2007 and 2008. 

The next year at Ohope Beach they managed a clean sweep of all categories, winning the tube rescue, single rescue, assembly rescue and mass rescue.  The girls pay tribute to the camaraderie among the entire Fitzroy IRB racing crew and club for all the support and advice given to them over their racing career. “We were a team, not just individuals. It wasn’t just about your own crew. Everyone helped each other out. We could not have done as well as we did without the support and team work to get the boat to the line each time we raced.

It’s fun when teams support each other. And success helped build a team and team culture.”  Each season the pressure for the girls to stay at the top was always there in the background. When you are at the top everyone wants to beat you — you become the team to beat which put a target on their backs at the National Champs. They would practice a couple of times a week, each training lasting at least two hours.  Emma would also get in the pool 2-3 times a week for tube training and Katie would sprint train for the mass transitions and finishes where speed was key. “We had to keep training to keep ahead of the opposition”.  “Racing was always fun — but nerve-wracking too.”

Emma and Katie also held roles on the club’s committee, were patrol captains and coached throughout their racing careers.  These were volunteer positions. Their leadership, time and experience has been invaluable to the Fitzroy Surf Life Saving Club over the years. They have also been great role models for the younger generation coming through our sport.

bp Surf Rescue New Zealand IRB Championships - Between 2006-2010

  • Gold - 11
  • Silver - 2
  • Bronze - 2
Anna Ballara (3).png

Samantha Lee - Lyall Bay

When a young Samantha Lee rocked up to Lyall Bay SLSC in Wellington she probably had no idea that her Surf Lifesaving career in the future would see her be crowned our most successful
World Championships athlete ever! Yes you heard it right! Whilst many people would think of Cory Hutchings when asked “who has been our most successful athlete at the Worlds?” It is in fact, Samantha Lee. During her Surf Lifesaving career Samantha racked up six individual world titles between 2012 and 2016. In doing so she also set world records.

Samantha was a pivotal member of the history breaking Black Fins team who won the overall world titles at the 2012, 2014 and 2016 World Championships. On top of her World Championships success, Sam was also named the top female competitor at the German Cup in 2013, 2015 and the Bene Cup in 2013 along with claiming eight individual titles. She also took away a massive sixteen individual titles at the Surf Life Saving New Zealand Pool Rescue Championships.  However, it was always the team events and relays that Sam enjoyed the most stating “there is nothing like sharing the podium with your mates.” 

Sam is not only a World Champion competitor she is a champion person - very humble, supportive and an amazing role model for many. Since her retirement from the international stage in 2017, Sam has continued to be involved with her club Lyall Bay, coaching and mentoring the young members.  “More than just a champion, Samantha is a champion person”

World titles

  • 6 individual world titles - 3 for 100m Rescue Medley (2012, 2014, 2016), 2 for 200m Obstacle (2012, 2014), 1 for Tube Rescue (2016)
  • 2 team world titles – 2 for 4 x 50m Obstacle Relay (2012, 2014) both world records
  • 4 individual world club champs titles in 2016
  • 1 team world club champs title in 2016
  • 8 individual world champs placings; 5 2nds, 3 3rds
  • 3 world champs team placings; 2 2nds,1 3rd
  • 2 individual world club champs placings; 2 2nds
  • 1 team world club champs placing; 3rd

First overall competitor at German Cup 2013,2015 and at Bene Cup 2013

Australian pool titles

  • 8 individual Australian titles, 200m Obstacle (2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016), Rescue Medley (2009, 2012, 2013, 2014)
  • 8 individual Australian title placings; 5 2nds, 3 3rds

Surf Life Saving New Zealand Pool Rescue Championships

  • 16 individual titles including 200m Obstacle (2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016), Rescue Medley (2009, 2012, 2013, 2014)
  • 12 individual placings; 9 2nds, 3 3rds
Anna Ballara (4).png

Steph Laughton & Carla Laughton - St Clair

Steph and Carla have been an inspiration to all members of Surf Lifesaving by demonstrating longevity as Surf Lifeguards and in all forms of Surf Lifesaving sport. They have won National medals from 2008 until their retirement in 2019. 

During this time, they have won:
17 gold IRB medals, 1 Worlds gold and 2 Worlds silvers, 5 Pool Champs golds, 2 Sand Nationals golds and 30 other place medals across all disciplines.

Steph and Carla have shown extreme dedication across all disciplines of Surf Lifesaving whether that be through lifeguarding or sport. Both have spent considerable time on the Club committee, as instructors, examiners and patrol captains while also playing a crucial role in maintaining high patrol standards set at the St Clair SLSC and Otago/Southland area. Moreover, to be able to compete at such a high level at the SLS New Zealand Pool Rescue Championships, TSB New Zealand National Championships and bp Surf Rescue New Zealand IRB Championship, their dedication to training and success has taken considerable effort.

Being based in Dunedin, Steph and Carla have had to train in less than desirable conditions with cold water temperatures and large surf conditions often preventing people from reaching the highest level along with significant financial outlay and travel, however, Steph and Carla have powered through this to be champions in all disciplines of Surf Lifesaving.  Steph and Carla have been pioneers as multi-disciplined female athletes that have had successes in all areas of Surf Lifesaving. They have always represented St Clair SLSC and the organisation to the highest possible standard and have been role models and coaches to people across the country. Surf Lifesaving is better off as a movement thanks to Steph and Carla’s contribution and ongoing contribution to the movement.

Overview as a team

  • 18 National titles
  • ASB Otago Sports Awards Team of the Year 2013
  • Have achieved Gold medal results in all 3 SLSNZ National Championships
  • Have both won gold in Tube Rescue events at Pool Champs (Steph 1st , Carla 2nd), Surf Nationals and IRB Nationals in the same season – 2010
Anna Ballara (6).png

2016 Sport Hall of Fame Induction

(1991 to 2010 Period)

Nine Surf Life Saving members were formally inducted into the Surf Life Saving Sports Hall of Fame in Auckland at the 2016 Awards of Excellence.  To be eligible, inductees into the Hall of Fame will have dominated in an open individual or team event at the New Zealand Surf Life Saving Championships for a significant period of time or have successfully defended an international championship title.

Congratulations to the 2016 inductees from the era of 1991 to 2010, Anna Ballara (Lyall Bay), Cory Hutchings (Midway), Sheryl Burns (East End), John Creighton (South Brighton), Elizabeth Thompson (Waikanae), Callum Taylor (New Plymouth Old Boys), Russell Hamlet (Waipu Cove) and Chris Scott and Jaron Mumby (Fitzroy).

Surf Life Saving New Zealand Sport Manager Mike Lord says the eight inductees have achieved great success over their surf sports careers and it's great to formally acknowledge them with induction to the Hall of Fame.

"Their achievements are an inspiration to many past and present athletes and members and I know they will continue to be for our up-and-coming surf lifesaving stars," he says.

25 September 2016.

Anna Ballara - Lyall Bay

National Champs individual event medals between 1985-2002

  • Gold 13 (board race, ironman, surf race)
  • Silver 7 (board race, ironman, surf race)
  • Bronze 2 (ironman, board race)

National Champs team event medals between 1986-2010

  • Gold 21 (tube rescue, surf teams, taplin relay, board relay, board rescue, six man R&R, marchpast, double ski)
  • Silver 16 (tube rescue, board rescue, surf teams, taplin relay, ski relay, board relay)
  • Bronze 2 (tube rescue, taplin relay)

World Championship titles

  • Gold 4 (tube rescue relay, ski race, board race)
  • Silver 3 (board race, 2km run)
  • Bronze 1 (taplin relay)
Anna Ballara

Callum Taylor - New Plymouth Old Boys

National Champs individual event medals between 1993 - 2000

  • Gold 8 (beach sprint, beach flags)

World Lifesaving Champs - National Teams

  • Gold beach sprint 1994
  • Gold beach sprint, bronze beach flags, silver relay 1996
  • Gold beach sprint, gold beach flags, silver relay 1998
  • Silver beach sprint 2000

World Lifesaving Champs - Interclub

  • Gold beach sprint 1996, 1998, 2000

Australian titles

  • Gold beach sprint 1996, 1997 & 1998
  • Gold beach relay 1996 & 1998
Callum Taylor

Chris Scott/Jaron Mumby - Fitzroy

Gold 20- National IRB Champs Medals from 1997 to 2010
NZ Rep at Tri Nations 2001/2003 (won IRBs in 2003)
3 Surf League titles (Taranaki)
8 top club titles in IRBs

Jaron Mumby & Chris Scott

Russell Hamlet - Waipu Cove

National Champs individual event medals between 1977 to 1984

  • Gold 8 (beach sprint, beach flags)

Represented NZ in 1980 (Australian Tour), 1982 (United Kingdom Tour)

Russell Hamlet

Sheryl George (Burns) - East End

National Champs individual event medals between 1980-1991

  • - Gold 15 (beach sprint, beach flags, ski race, board race)
  • - Silver 4 (beach flags, beach sprint, ski race, board race)
  • - Bronze 1 (ski race, beach sprint)

National Champs team event medals between 1980-1991

  • - Gold 6 (beach relay, tube rescue, four man R&R, six man R&R)
  • - Silver 3 (beach relay)
  • - Bronze 5 (beach relay, ski rescue, four man R&R, six man R&R)

International results for NZ team

  • - 4 tests/tours for NZ - 6 golds, 2 silver
  • NZ U21 Assistant Coach 1992
  • NZ Selector 1993-1994
  • SLSNZ National Sport Development Manager 1996-1999
  • SLS Wellington Administrator 1995-1996
Sheryl George (Burns) (1)

Cory Hutchings - Midway

Medalled 59 times in his 15 competitive years at SLSNZ Championships- 51 medals in 12 years at open events

  • Gold 39
  • Silver 8
  • Bronze 4
  • Won the Open Ironman event 11 times in 12 years including 10 wins in succession 1993-2002
  • An overall total of 10 wins in the board race including 8 Open wins.
  • Represented NZ from 1990 to 2002 (Captain 1994-2002)

International results

  • 2nd World Ironman 1994
  • 3rd Iron Man Australian national champs 1995
  • 2nd World Ironman 1996
  • 1st World Ironman 1998, 2000 & 2002
  • 1990 & 1991 Trans-Tasman Team
  • 1993 NZ team to Australia
  • 1994, 1996, 1998 & 2002 World Lifesaving Championships team
  • 1997 NZ Tri Nations Team vs Australia & South Africa
  • 1999 NZ Tri Nations Team and Hawaiian Ocean team
  • 2000 NZ Southern Makos team to Australian Kelloggs series
Cory Hutchings

Liz Blencoe (Elizabeth Thompson) - Waikanae

National Champs individual event medals between 1983-1998

  • Gold 7 (ski race)
  • Silver 7 (ski race, board race)
  • Bronze 1 (board race)

National Champs team event medals between 1989-2000

  • Gold 7 (double ski, four man R&R, taplin relay)
  • Silver - 9 (belt race, double ski, six man R&R, taplin relay)
  • Bronze 7 (four man R&R, tube rescue, six man R&R, board relay)

Represented Australia in Women's K1 500 at 1984 Olympics

Liz Thompson

John Creighton - South Brighton

National Champs individual event medals between 1994- 2000 and 2003

  • Gold 8 (ski race)

National Champs team event medals 1996 to 2000

  • Gold 2 (double ski)
  • Silver 3 (double ski)

Represented NZ in 1993, 1999, 2000

International results

  • NZ Trans-Tasman Challenge team 1993
  • NZ Representative 1993-2000
  • International Lifeguard Challenge Hawaii
  • NZ representative to Australian national titles 1997
  • NZ rep team Tri Nations competition 1999
  • NZ Makos (NZ Kelloggs team) 2000
John Creighton

2007 Sport Hall of Fame Induction

Jenny Abrahamson [nee Clark] - North Beach

National Champs individual event medals between 1964 and 1969

  • Gold 6 (surf race)

National Champs team event medals between 1964 and 1969

  • Gold 1 (belt race)
  • Silver 4 (belt race)


Jenny Abrahamson (Clark)

Joe Clark* - Maranui

National Champs individual event medals between 1937 and 1951

  • Gold 4 (Belt race)
  • Gold 2 (surf race)
  • Silver 1 (surf race)
  • Bronze 1 (surf race)

National Champs team event medals between 1937 and 1951

  • Gold 16 (6 place R&R, 4 place R&R, surf teams, belt race)
  • Silver 4 (6 place R&R, surf teams)
  • Bronze 1 (belt race)
Joe Clark

Rex Dalton - North Beach

National Champs individual event medals between 1960 and 73

  • Gold 6 (ski race)
  • Silver 5 (ski race, beach sprint)
  • Bronze 4 (beach sprint, ski race)

National Champs team event medals between 1960 and 73

  • Gold 1 (ski rescue)
  • Silver 4 (ski rescue)
  • Bronze 3 (ski rescue)
Rex Dalton

John Jarvis* - St Clair

National Champs team event medals between 1956 and 1971

  • Gold 1 (surf teams)
  • Silver 3 (surf canoe race, taplin relay, 6 place R&R)

Australian titles

  • Gold 1 (belt race)

Represented New Zealand in 1954 (Australian Tour) 1956 (Melbourne Olympic Games)

World Titles at the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games

  • Gold 2 (belt race, surf teams race)
John Jarvis

Christopher W Billing - Worser Bay

The induction of Chris Billing into the New Zealand Surf Life Saving Hall of fame for his contribution to beach events, all began on the beach at Worser Bay in the summer of 1952/53. In fact his beach event prowess was born out of hours and hours of training at no where else but the beach.  To qualify for his surf medallion in 1952, Chris used Worser Bay beach as his training ground. In those days there was no such thing as a heated swimming pool in Wellington so Chris’s created his own beach-based training regime that became more and more rigorous as his career progressed.

The 1953/54 season was Chris Billing’s greatest competitive year. He won the Junior Surf and the Junior Belt race at the Wellington trials to select representatives to attend a national selection trial for a team to tour Australia. At the national trials Chris won the Junior Surf Race and Beltman’s title and the open Beach Sprint. Not surprisingly he was selected in the New Zealand team.

In the 1954/55 season Chris was undefeated in Surf races, beltmas events and the beach sprint in the Wellington region carnivals. At the Nationals he won the Junior Surf Race title and was runner up in the beltman’s. As a Junior, Chris won the Wellington Junior Surf and beltman’s titles for three consecutive seasons. At his last carnival as Junior. Chris won the Junior Surf and entered the Senior race that followed immediately after and won that as well.

As a Senior, he won a number of Wellington titles but National individual titles eluded him. There were, however, some epic races with Reg Harker and also with the increasing number of pool specialists (like Brian Crowder) who also enjoyed participating in Surf events. For a number of years Chris was a perpetual finalist in the National beltman’s final and a top five finisher in the National Surf Race.

At all times in his beach career, Chris was a great Club member and a keen participant in team and R & R events. He was a member of Worser Bay team that won the National March Past Pennant in 1968. In fact Chris was a Club member who was prepared to help the Club out in any event they required him to participate in. A typical Carnival day would see him compete in the Surf Race Belt race, 6 man and 4 man, the beach sprint, beach relay and the March past. It was this all-round prowess that saw Chris again selected to represent New Zealand in a series of tests against Australia in 1956.

Perhaps the most unique string to Chris’s bow, was his ability as beach sprinter. The hours spent training on the beach at Worser had helped develop Chris’s sprinting prowess to the point that he was unbeatable running on sand. He won the National Beach Sprint title at least 11 consecutive times. In fact he was unbeaten in beach sprints until the time he gave sprinting away in the early 70’s. His speed on the final leg of the beach relay helped the Worser Bay Club win 4 beach relay titles. Every time Chris ran in Club’s relay team at Nationals, they won the event.

It is a beach career simply packed with outstanding personal achievements and a deep  continuing loyalty to the Worser Bay Club where it all began.

Chris Billing

1995 Sport Hall of Fame Induction

22 September 1995, Beehive

Four Surf Life Savers were recognised for their outstanding contributions to lifeguarding with induction into the Surf Lifeguard New Zealand Hall of Fame in a ceremony held at the Beehive in September.  The recipients were Peter Fitzsimmons OBE, John Honnor, Alan Thompson and the late Hugh Cooper. They have each shown outstand- ing commitment to Surf Life Saving in both individual effort and on behalf of others in the organisation.

Peter Fitzsimmons has a long history in water sports with contributions to Surf Life Saving through an outstanding number of activities; currently he is SLSNZ's Director of Public Affairs and a Life Member. John Honnor has also given many years of endeavour to Surf Life Saving at local, national and international levels; presently John is an active member of the Directorate of the International Life Saving Federation (ILS).

Alan Thompson has a record of outstanding sporting achievement which he has coupled with solid organisational work to promote and enhance Surf Life Saving in New Zealand. The late Hugh Cooper selflessly devoted a large part of his life to building Surf Life Saving while being an active Lifeguard and performing many rescues. He showed outstanding commit- ment and perseverance in promoting and sustaining Surf Life Saving at a grass roots level.

The four inductees joined the 16 existing Hall of Fame members whose commitment and achievements were recognised with the establishment of the Surf Lifeguards New Zealand Hall of Fame in 1992. In all cases the work and achievements of these Hall of Fame members have benefited both Surf Life Saving in New Zealand and the community as a whole.

Hugh Cooper* - Opotiki

The late Hugh Cooper selflessly devoted a large part of his life to building Surf Life Saving while being an active Lifeguard and performing many rescues. He showed outstanding commitment and perseverance in promoting and sustaining Surf Life Saving at a grass roots level.  Hugh Cooper moved to Opotiki in 1979 and promptly set about bringing that club out of recess.  Before he moved to Opotiki for business reasons he was one of the longest serving members of Whakatane club.  He joined in 1953, received his surf bronze award in 1955 and served on the committee for several years.  In 1969 he became the clubs publicity officer, a position he held for about four years.  

Mr Cooper competed in several canoe events at the national championships and gained minor placings.  He also represented Bay of Plenty in inter-districts championships.  Since reforming the Opotiki club he was a prime mover in building up its numbers of qualified members and in getting the club it's own club-rooms at Waiotahi Beach.

Hugh Cooper

Peter W Fitzsimmons OBE - Omanu

Peter Fitzsimmons has a long history in water sports with contributions to Surf Life Saving through an outstanding number of activities.  Peter joined Lyall Bay in 1961 and quickly was involved in instructing, on the committee and Vice President.  After transferring to Maranui in 1965 he transferred to Omanu in 1979 and became a Life Member of the club by 1992.  For SLSANZ Peter held a number of positions including:

  • Public Relations Officer 1977-83
  • National Chairman 1979-87
  • Deputy President 1986-90
  • National President 1988-90

In his sporting career he won the National Junior Surf Teams in 1963, National Senior Surf Teams 1964 and 65, member of the Wellington District Representative Teams inter-District Winners 1963-65 and a New Zealand Trialist in 1965.  Peter was awarded the New Zealand Service Award in 1986, Awarded OBE for services to Surf Lifesaving in 1987 and Life Member in 1991.

On the World Lifesaving stage Peter held the positions of Chairman Publicity and Promotion 1982-1985, New Zealand delegate general assembly in 1984, 86, 88 and received a World Life Saving Citation in 1984.

Peter Fitzsimmons

Ieuan John Honnor OBE - East End

John Honnor first joined his Club East End in 1953, has since committed much of his life to Surf Life Saving. John has filled a wide variety of roles at Club, District and New Zealand levels including administrator, competitor, instructor, judge, manager/coach and selector. Three roles stand out at New Zealand level; the first is that of Chief Superintendent and his successful running of New Zealand Championships. The other two are his present role as the Chairman of Surf Life Saving’s first Board of Directors – formerly Management Committee – and New Zealand’s representative at World Life Saving forums. In all fields he has acted with integrity and dedication in the advancement of Surf Life Saving.

Back in the 1970s Honnor helped set up a new international body called International Lifesaving. He enjoyed the "humanitarian side" of life saving, he says.  "It was a service organisation and we were giving something back to the community. I liked swimming and I liked the beach and one thing followed another."  Giving back to the community is something he has done all his life. 

John (Ieuan) Honnor

Alan Thompson - Waikanae

Alan Thompson has a record of outstanding sporting achievement which he has coupled with solid organisational work to promote and enhance Surf Life Saving in New Zealand.  Alan was selected for the 1982 Mt Maunganui Trans-Tasman test as a ski paddler and proved his ranking as a formidable competitor by scoring the only New Zealand win on a day. 

At the 1984 Westshore New Zealand Surf Life Saving champs the New Zealand kayak team for the Los Angeles Olympics was announced - The coaches, Ben Hutchings and Brian Wilson were also surf lifesaving lifeguards and New Zealand Surf Life Saving national titles winners. 

Though Olympic success stands supreme for Alan we cannot discount his involvement in surf lifesaving.  It provided the training ground and impetus for such success. Alan's skill, never-say-die attitude and extraordinary versatility in an era of what has become increasing specialisation, was first displayed at his second New Zealand Surf Life Saving champs at Paekakariki in 1976 when he came away with seven medals, including the Junior Ironman title. 

From there until 1991 he was to win a total of 66 medals. At senior level from 1980 to 1990 he amassed 20 gold medals, 14 silvers and 5 bronze - 11 from the swim/R&R arena, 24 from board and ski and four from canoe.  He was a member of three  SLSNZ teams, '82, '85, and '87, and captained the team at the Mount test of '85, as well as the Gisborne District teams that won the Norrie Trophy.

1995_AlanThompson (2)

1992 Hall of Fame Induction

Muriel G Brown MBE* - Orewa

The Maritime Museum’s surf life saving collection includes photographs and memorabilia belonging to Muriel Brown, the first woman to become a life member of the New Zealand Surf Life Saving Association.

Milford Surf Life Saving Club was the first club established in the Auckland District in 1925, and the Milford Girls’ SLSC was formed in 1932, with Muriel Brown as captain. The 1935/36 Auckland annual report records nine active members in the Milford Girls’ club in 1935. They made one rescue and gave first aid seven times that year.
Muriel Brown joined the surf life saving movement in 1932. She competed in events each year and even though the club only had a small membership, the team won several trophies and awards in the 1930s. After World War II Muriel served as an instructor and secretary of the Milford club. She also represented the Milford Ladies Surf Live Saving Club in the Auckland Association. 

When the Milford Girls’ Club closed in 1961, Muriel joined the Orewa Club and was elected to the role of President.

The Auckland Association awarded Muriel for her work on several occasions. In 1971 she was the first woman to be made a life member of the New Zealand Surf Life Saving Association. She became a Governor of World Life Saving and in 1992 was awarded an MBE for services to life saving. Muriel died in 1996 at the age of 82. 

Muriel G Brown

Pat Ellison MBE - Moana Rua

Over the years, Pat Ellison has received many honours in recognition of her services, including life membership of the Moana Rua Club (which she formed after the war to attract the displaced women from St Clair and St Kilda) and the Otago Association as well as the New Zealand Service Award and the Distinguished Service Award. Pat was made a life members of NZSLSA in 1980, and in 1992 she was one of two women (the other was Muriel Brown) elected to the NZSLSA's Hall of Fame.

Pat was the assistant manager for the first ever New Zealand ladies tour to Sri Lanka in 1974.

She was also a foundation member, and has served as president of the Ladies 21 Club, an organisation representing 21 years'involvement in surf lifesaving.  In 1976 she was awarded an MBE for service to lifesaving. Pat's achievements were an important breakthrough for women's sport in general and gave women such as Kath Bradshaw and Bet Sydney the confidence to apply for and hold similar positions in Otago athletics and swimming.

Pat Ellison (1)

Ian G Ferguson MBE - United North Piha

Ian Ferguson was was a significant competition in surf lifesaving, before and after his feat in winning Olympic gold medals at Los Angeles.  Ian was at first a member of Palmerston North Club before joining United North Piha.  Ian first came to individual prominence in the Ironman event capturing New Zealand titles as a result of a strict personal training regime.

Ian Ferguson

H Duke Gillies MBE* - St Clair

If he had remained Hugh Donald Gillies, perhaps his story would not have struck such a chord.  But Duke Gillies: what a name, what a man and what a life.

Gillies was the godfather of Otago surf life-saving, a man who spent three-quarters of a century watching the waves but whose influence will be felt for much longer.  He was a man of the water, so salty you half expected to see barnacles on his skin.

Gillies was a swimming champion as a youngster and gained his nickname when Duke Kahunamoko, the Hawaiian world champion, gave demonstrations in New Zealand.  An injury curtailed his involvement in other sports but, limp and all, he found his calling in life-saving. It was once estimated he had rescued at least three dozen people from the sea.

Gillies had a 76-year association with the St Clair Surf Life Saving Club, holding almost every official position. In the 1930s, he coached the St Clair six-man junior team to national honours, and was in the senior team which won the Nelson Shield for rescue and resuscitation.  "Life-saving got into me," he later told Otago Daily Times reporter Kim Dungey. "People need it and you've got to have people to do these things. If you don't do the work, it doesn't get done."

Perhaps his greatest contribution was designing a revolutionary four-man surf rescue canoe in 1932.  Until then, life-savers swam to those in difficulty with a reel and a belt. Canoes were available, but the Gillies-designed craft was the first built high at the front to withstand large waves, going both in and out.  He and friends built the first wooden canoe in his backyard at St Kilda. It became the standard rescue craft in New Zealand and was the forerunner of the fibreglass models which were used well into the 1950s.

Gillies was a foundation member of the Otago Surf Life Saving Association, and president of Surf Life Saving New Zealand from 1956 to 1958.  He received the order of MBE in 1974 for his efforts. He was also active in Special Olympics, and a lifelong supporter of the St Clair salt water pool.  Gillies died in 2002, aged 95.

Duke Gillies

Reginald (Reg) N Harker - Red Beach

Reg Harker has been labelled as the íron man'of surf lifesaving in New Zealand due to his prowess as a competitor during the 1950s, 60s, and 70s.  Reg, who started off with the Waitemata Club and gained his bronze medallion in 1951, is one of New Zealand's finest surfmen.  When Waitemata folded he moved to Red Beach, and has represented New Zealand in swimming, water polo and surf lifesaving, compiling an outstanding record along the way including:

  • Member, New Zealand Senior Six-Man Champion Team (Nelson Shield 1958)
  • Gold 5 (New Zealand Champion Beltman)
  • Gold  5 (New Zealand Surf Race Champion)
  • Gold 4 (New Zealand Surf Team Member)

In 1964-65, as a member of the NZSLS team to tour Australia, he was undoubtedly the star of the team.  Reg trounced the Australian belt champion Peter Rigby, of Queensland, at Surfers Paradise during the first surf carnival of the tour.  In 1960 he toured Australia as a member of the New Zealand water polo team.  The pride of the Red Beach Surf Life Saving Club, Reg was made a Life Member in 1967. He was one of the most exciting figures at any surf carnival from the 1950's through to the 1980s.

Reg Harker (2)

Murray J Haxton QSM* - Maranui

In 1947, at the age of 16, Murray joined the Maranui Surf Life Saving Club.  For more than a half-century after that he played a significant role in lifeguarding, surf sports, instruction and administration.  He is mainly remembered for his feat in winning the open surf race title at the New Zealand Championships in three consecutive year: 1952, 53 and 54.  A feat only equaled by two other competitors half a century later - Cory Hutchings 1999-2001 and Glenn Anderson 2002-2004.

Murrays competitive excellence was  recognised with selection for the New Zealand team, which competed at the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games.

Murray was NZ Gear inspector for many years, Delegate to Water safety NZ, a member of the SLSNZ Powercraft Committee, and delegate to two World Life Saving Congresses.

Murray Haxton

J Allen Lee MNZM* - South Brighton

Allen joined the SBSLSC on 1949, gaining his surf lifeguard award in 1950.  He served in various fields of practical surf life saving activity for 37 years. He has been involved in Club administration for 34 years, including club captain, chief instructor. He competed in NZ Championships for 14 years being a winning member of the Nelson Shield and Senior Surf Race Team for 4 years. He was made a Club Life Member in 1974.

At District level he has been actively engaged for 32 years being a Surf Official for 20 years. He was a member of the NZ Championships Organising Committee 4 years, a selector and served on the Life membership Committee for 11 years. Allen was in the District Representative Team for 10 years and Captain for 3 and was awarded a District Life member in 1975.

At National level he has been a Championship Official for 15 years with 6 as a key official. Been a member of NZ Council for 20 years, serving 10 as an Officer. A manager of NZ Teams, ladies team educational tour of Sri Lanka in 1974., and a member of NZ’s delegation to Rescue 1986. He served as NZ President in 1978 – 1980.


F G (Paddy) Ryan QSO* - Lyall Bay

In 1925 Paddy Ryan won his first national title in Christchurch with the Lyall Bay 6-man R&R team. He was examined on the way down to Christchurch on the boat and again in the morning before the championships started. It was the start of an incredible 70-year love affair with the surf.  Paddy was 19 when he won that first title and 89 when he won his last World Masters title in 1993 - nearly 70 years later.  Between 1925 and 1948, Paddy was on the winning team of New Zealand senior 6-man R&R four times. He also won the individual surf race in 1938. He won 2 titles at the World Masters in 1993 at the age of 89.

In 1938 he was selected to be a member of the first ever New Zealand surf lifesaving team to visit Australia but had to withdraw.  He managed the NZ team to Australia in 1970 and also served as President, Deputy president, Chair from 1945-49, Delegate for Otago and was on the Executive and various sub committees for NZSLSA. Paddy was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992.

Paddy Ryan (1)

Geoff Walker* - Waimairi

Possibly the most successful member of the Waimairi club was Geoff Walker, who dominated ski and board events at the national level during the 1970s and 1980s. Geoff was also twice a member of the New Zealand Surf Team competing in the Trans-Tasman Tests (1980 and 1982), a member of the World International Team at the Australian Games (1985), in the New Zealand Team at the World Life Saving Championships (1988) and four times the New Zealand Iron Man representative to Australia (1978, 79, 82 and 83).

Geoff also represented New Zealand in canoeing at the Moscow Olympics (1980) and the World Championships in Finland in 1983.  Unfortunately, Geoff's career was tragically cut short by cancer.  (photo and writing from Sand Between Mt Toes, Ivan Jackson)

Geoff Walker

Jack C Blakeley, MBE* - Lyall Bay

The NZSLA improved the sport, standardised equipment and rules and in 1937 it brought and inspirational New South Wales team to New Zealand. 

Jack Blakeley was selected for the NZ team to pay a return visit to Australia but had to withdraw.

Older members of the surf lifesaving movement tend to regard the 1930s as ‘the Golden years,’when  the only events contested at major surf lifesaving competitions centred on belt race, surf race and R&R events.  They were the years of such national champions as the Lyall Bay trio of Jack Blakeley, Maori All Black Dick Pelham and Frank Ryan along with Wally Jarvis of St Clair and the young Maranui up-and-comer, Joe Clark.  In 1938 Blakeley won the New Zealand beltman’s title over the great Alan Dalton who had been the first to defend the title the year before. He also was a member of 4 Nelson Shield winning teams and won his last medal in 1948 in the surf teams race 21 years after he joined the club..

 In the early 1970s, the Lyall Bay club modestly updated its facilities and added a small bar, which Jack Blakeley ran profitably. What other club in New Zealand can offer its members these facilities?’, it boasted in 1974: Sauna room, Carpeted lounge, Hot & cold showers, Television, Plunge pool, stereogram. 

Jack was a Life member of the Lyall Bay Surf Lifesaving Club, the Wellington District Association and the National Association. At administration level he was the National Registrar and Publicity Officer from 1941 to 1944. Treasurer from 1945 to 1947, Auditor from 1948 to 1983 and was on various subcommittees  He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992.

47 Jack C Blakeley.png

H J Ken Farey OBE* - Lyall Bay

Through the 1960s to 1980s Ken Farey continued the pioneering work established by the great Alan Gardner.  As Chief instructor between 1959-70 he brought back from Australia the technique of mouth to mouth ( EAR) and carried out lectures and demonstrations throughout the country.  The first reference to closed-chest cardiac massage, later to be known as external cardiac compressions (ECC), appeared in 1962. 

It was not until 1970, as a result of attending at SLSAA meetings by Dr Stuart Peddie and Ken Farey, that the decision was made to incorporate ECC into competition and drill procedures.

The Lyall Bay Club member was National Champs Controller, Chief Instructor, President, Chairman from 1973-77, delegate for Gisborne and Hawkes Bay, on the Executive and various subcommittees. Ken managed the NZ team to Australia in 1964 and the NZ team v South Africa in 1971. He was made a Life Member of SLSNZ and in 1992 was inducted into the Surf Lifesaving NZ New Zealand Hall of Fame. Ken was awarded the OBE for his services to Surf Life Saving.

Ken Farey (2)

W V (Bill) Griffin, QSM* - Lyall Bay

Bill joined the Lyall Bay Club in 1922 – serving the club in many positions over the years. Bill became “No. 1” of the “21” Club when it was formed in 1948. Bill was President, Patron and made a Life Member of the Lyall Bay Club and was made a Life Member of the Bay of Plenty Association. He was President and Deputy president for NZSLSA, a delegate for Auckland and Bay of Plenty on the NZ Council and was on various subcomittees. He was made a Life Member of the National Association. Bill was awarded the Queens Service Medal in 1982 for his 60 years of service. He served for 21 years as beach Marshall at district and national level and was often referred to as “Mr Surf”. His catch phrase was “Always look after the juniors”.

Bill was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992

Photo, voice like thunder: Bill Griffin calls the arena to attention at the 1953 NZ Champs, Waikanae. (Barry McLean Collection, Between the Flags)

Bill Griffin

Newell St Clair Berge* - East End

Known only to most a "Toby", he joined East End SLSC in 1916 at the age of 14, and was associated with the club for over 60 years.  The highlight of his younger years at hte club was winning the Tabor Shield.

Toby never expected members to do anything he wasn't prepared to do himself, and was well respected around the club, and region.  At the end of his sporting career, Toby took on the role of judge on the beach and was New Zealand Chief Time Keeper.

Toby occupied all positions of Executive Committee at East End and Taranaki SLSA, as well as reaching the highest official position in the surf Life Saving Association of New Zealand being elected President in 1958/60.

A New Zealand Service award was presented to Toby in 1935, and Life Membership in 1963.  Toby was one of the few to be presented with the Gold Badge for 50 years’ service to the life saving movement.

Toby (#12) was one of the original 21 members of the 21 Club in 1948.  During World War 11, Toby took over the responsibility for Taranaki, and was instrumental in the reforming of surf life saving in Taranaki after the war.

Toby Berge (1)

Geoff Le Cren - Taylors Mistake

Geoff was another surf life saver with strong family connections to the Club. His parents Keith and Rene were active members of Taylors as was sister Helen. Later his children Tim, Danelle and Kristi became members.

Geoff gained his Surf Bronze in 1958 and competed in his first nationals the same year in New Brighton.  He competed with distinction as a patient for Norm Webb where in heavy seas they were only one of three teams to finish.  However, they were denied a placing as the event was called off because of the big sea.

According to Kevin Tutty and Paul Carpinter in ‘Over the Hill for 100 years’ “the next year, at Oakura, he became perhaps the youngest to win the national junior belt title at only 15, … and in 1960 he added the surf race”.  However, a combination of factors outside his control i.e. accidents and injuries, family bereavement, need to work, archaic rules relating to professional swimming instructors (for which he did part time for a period) reduced his opportunities to shine as a senior.  He swam a host of finals, and twice won the South Island Belt title.  In 1982 he won the national over 30 surf race.  In 1963 he was the sole Taylors Mistake representative in the Canterbury team that competed in the prestigious Royal Carnival.  Between 1960 and 1981 he represented Canterbury for 16 of those years.  Perhaps the most satisfaction Geoff gained from the sport was being a member of the club’s six-man team and the multiple successes it had in winning the Nelson Shield.  Of the thirteen wins in two decades, Geoff was in 10 of them.

As well as the sporting side of life saving, Geoff was an extremely able administrator, secretary of the Canterbury association for several years, and of the club from 1974-77 and club captain from 1965-66.  He represented New Zealand in a surf life saving educational role in 1980, having been granted an Air New Zealand Study Award.  In 1981 he was named Canterbury Surf Life Saver of the Year.

Geoff Le Cren

Ken W Mitchell* - Worser Bay

Ken Mitchell was dedicated to Surf Life Saving in and out of the water. In the water, he was instrumental in saving lives during the Wahine sinking and co-ordinated Barrie Davenport’s first-ever swim across Cook Strait in 1962. Out of the water he was dedicated to his Worser Bay Club and also to SLSNZ, where he was Chairman of the SLSNZ Council in the later 1970s and subsequently Executive Officer for nine years until his retirement in 1989.

Ken was Instructor of the NZ team v Australia in 1972, a member of the NZ team to the World Congress in South Africa in 1974, a National selector for many years and Chief Instructor of NZSLSA between 1971 and 1977. He also served as a delegate on the NZSLSA National Council and was on the management committee for many years.

Ken Mitchell (1)

Daryl Neate - Taylors Mistake

Daryl grew up in Taylors with the family owning the bach “Shangri-la “at the end of the bay.  He started as a nipper and got his surf award in 1962.  Daryl was one of the club’s most successful competitors in both R & R and craft, winning the Nelson Shield 13 times, NZ Iron Man, Ski, Ski Rescue, Taplin Relay and Double Ski Titles.  In all –  35 gold, 22 silver and 21 bronze medals at national championships.

Daryl also represented New Zealand in 1973 in South Africa and in 1974 against Australia.  In 1992 he was inducted into the NZ Surf Life Saving Hall of Fame along with Geoff Le Cren.  Daryl competed for the club for 40 years as well as patrolling and coaching.  In 1988 the Taylors Mistake team of Daryl Neate, Paul Carpinter, Simon Davis, Lars Humer, Carl Immers and Dene Waru, coached by Jock McNaught, made no errors throughout the entire drill – recording an unbelievable 0.0 score for the first time ever.

His long association with the club and support was acknowledged by the Taylors Mistake SLSC by being made a life member.


Daryl Neate (1)