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Governor General to launch Surf Diversity Programme

Media Release
19 June 2014

Governor General to launch Surf Diversity Programme

The Governor General, Sir Jerry Mateparae, is set to launch Surf Lifesaving’s Northern Regions new Surf Diversity Programme at Government House Auckland on Tuesday 24 June, 2014.

The innovative Surf Diversity Programme is aimed at encouraging ethnic, Maori and Pacific youth to represent and participate in surf lifesaving around Auckland this summer and for years to come.

Twenty students, a mixture of Asian, Maori and Pacific youth will be among the first to launch and participate in the long-term programme which is based on a scholarship concept.

“This programme is considered a major breakthrough in New Zealand surf lifesaving history,” says Chief Executive Officer of Surf Life Saving Northern Region, Pam Elgar.

“There is a strong need for more ethnic representation amongst the predominantly European face of lifesaving and this programme will help provide proactive solutions,” Pam adds.

The concept originated from Ollie Urwin, a long-serving lifeguard with Karekare Surf Life Saving Patrol and for the past year, Surf Life Saving Northern Region has been working closely with a project team and fellow Karekare lifeguard, Sir Bob Harvey, to launch the programme in West Auckland secondary schools.

“Last summer we presented the Surf Diversity Programme to students in four West Auckland schools and were met with great success,” says Pam.

“We are confident this programme will be met with support from communities that are often over-represented in drowning and rescue statistics,” Pam adds.

A prerequisite of the programme is that all of the young people applying for the scholarship are able to swim and commit to training sessions with the four Auckland Surf Life Saving Clubs who are working with the students over the next two seasons (2014/2015).

“In ten years’ time, we’re hoping our patrolling beaches will look more like the All Blacks with a wealth of diversity, talent and skill,” says Sir Bob Harvey.

Surf Life Saving Northern Region would like to acknowledge the support of the Lottery Outdoor Safety Committee who receives their funding from the NZ Lottery Grants Board and made this programme possible.

The launch ceremony will take place at 5.30pm at Government House in Auckland and will be attended by the first intake of students, their parents, Surf Life Saving Northern Region representatives, participating clubs and key funders.

For further information about Surf Life Saving Northern Region or the Surf Diversity Programme visit http://www.lifesaving.org.nz/.


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