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Surf Life Saving NZ recognizes lifeguards

28 September 2008

Media Release

Surf Life Saving NZ recognizes lifeguards at annual awards

Surf Life Saving NZ celebrated the outstanding contribution of their lifeguards this weekend (27th & 28th September) at the Surf Life Saving annual awards held at the Duxton Hotel in Wellington.

The Awards recognize the significant achievements of members within Surf Life Saving NZ and honor those who have made an extraordinary contribution over the previous 12 months.

15 year old Papamoa youngsters Nathan Smith and Liam O’Toole took out the BP Surf Rescue of the Year award for their dramatic rescue of five girls at Papamoa beach in December 2007. Nathan was off duty and surfing at the time when he came across five girls in trouble. He single-handedly dragged three girls from heavy surf returning for two more, one of whom was unconscious. Liam assisted on the beach with oxygen for the patients and monitored the girls until an ambulance arrived. The teenage lifeguards showed a maturity well beyond their years and their quick action saved the lives of two of the girls.

Debbie Phillips-Morgan from Raglan picked up the prestigious NZLGB Lifeguard of the Year award. As the club captain of Raglan Surf Club, Debbie has been an outstanding ambassador for her club. Leading a small team of lifeguards with a heavy workload, Debbie also managed to complete over 162 hours of patrol, train and qualify nine new lifeguards, gain her SLGA Instructors Certificate and attend all regional club forums throughout the year.

Otaki legend Neale Ames won DHL Volunteer of the Year for his tireless commitment, energy and dedication to Surf Life Saving and Taranaki’s Brian Velvin was named DHL Surf Official of the Year.

Walter Maxwell from Lyall Bay in Wellington took home DHL Coach of the Year having trained over 140 athletes while long time member Allan Mundy of Omanu Surf Club in the Bay of Plenty won DHL Instructor of the Year.

Brian Wilson (Midway Club Gisborne), Grant Morrison (Mairangi Bay) and David Price (North Beach Canterbury) were all awarded Distinguished Service Awards.

Two esteemed Life Membership Awards were presented to double Olympic Gold Medalist Alan Thompson from Waikanae Surf Club in Gisborne and Denis Cooksley of Mairangi Bay in Auckland.

20 further Service Awards were presented to Lifeguards from a range of clubs around New Zealand.

Surf Life Saving NZ CEO Geoff Barry commented:
``So many of our members put in long hours week after week throughout summer and for some they’ve been doing it for the majority of their life. These awards are designed to give them the acknowledgement they deserve and it is our way of recognizing the contribution of our members each year.’’

Surf Life Saving plays a big part in our community. Approximately 15,000 New Zealanders are members of SLSNZ. All of these people are volunteers who give up their time during weekends and holidays to ensure our beaches are safe. Last summer they performed over 100,000 preventative actions during 175,000 hours of beach patrols.

For a copy of the photo that accompanies this release please visit:


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