2020 SLSNZ Awards of Excellence Winners Booklet


The Surf Life Saving National Awards of Excellence programme recognises the contribution of our amazing members from the grass roots of Surf Life Saving during the 2019/2020 season. Congratulations to all of our winners and award recipients.

Awards of Excellence



The Surf Life Saving National Awards of Excellence

programme recognises the contribution of our amazing

members from the grass roots of Surf Life Saving

during the 2019/2020 season.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, we were unable to host this

year's awards in Wellington.

However we are delighted to announce this year's

SLSNZ Awards Of Excellence winners.

We are incredibly proud and grateful for all that you do

and achieve. The contribution you make to Surf

Lifesaving, your clubs and communities is outstanding -

even more so because you do this as volunteers!

Congratulations to all of our winners

and award recipients.

Awards of Excellence



bp Media Award

bp Rescue of the Year Award


TSB Official of the Year

TSB Coach of the Year

TSB International Sport Performance of the Year



50 Year Badges

Awards of Excellence


DHL Instructor of the Year

DHL Volunteer of the Year

DHL Innovation of the Year




London Trophy

Gudsell Trophy

NZ Lottery Grants Board Lifeguard of the Year

Awards of Excellence

Message from the President

Marilyn Moffatt

SLSNZ President

Congratulations to all the winners in the 2020 SLSNZ

Awards of Excellence. I'm in awe of the passion you have and

the work you have put in over the last year. Your award is well

deserved and I know your club and fellow lifeguards are very

proud of you. Congratulations also to all the nominees, your

nomination at this level is recognition of the high standard of

work and commitment you have shown.

These awards showcase the important work that our lifeguards

do around the country both on and off the beach. I look

forward to meeting many of you over this summer and seeing

the difference that you make to keep our beaches safer.

Awards of Excellence

Message from the Chair

Brent Warner

SLSNZ Chairperson

It provides me great pleasure to pen a quick note in support of

this year’s awards. While it's a shame we can't meet in person

to celebrate the fantastic efforts of this year’s award recipients,

this shouldn't take anything away from this year’s winners, who

are fantastic individuals contributing to their communities by

developing future leaders and champions.

Without doubt, this year’s recipients are outstanding individuals

whose volunteer efforts contribute widely to their communities

and throughout New Zealand society.

To our award recipients, well done on your efforts in building

“Better Kiwis”. You are very much appreciated by New

Zealanders - and never underestimate how many Kiwis are

home with their families tonight because of your efforts.

Awards of Excellence

Media &

Rescue Awards

We are immensely grateful for bp’s ongoing support

and their talented team who work alongside us – their

involvement over 52 years has been hugely beneficial to

both organisations. Our partnership with bp continues

to be the longest unbroken commercial partnership in

New Zealand, and we are both incredibly proud of this.

bp committed to repeating the highly popular “Every Litre

Counts” campaign for a third season raising awareness and an

additional $231,219 in critical funds for SLSNZ.

The 2019 Vote the Boat recipient of a fully kitted Inflatable

Rescue Boat was Kaka Point SLSC in the South Island, who have

made a number of rescues with their new IRB. bp Leaders for

Life – our leadership development programme – continues to

go from strength to strength providing our members with a

fantastic opportunity for personal development and to make a

valued contribution to the growth of surf lifesaving in New

Zealand. Our clubs once again benefited at the start of the

season with a $500 bp gift card to help with running costs.

Debi Boffa Managing Director

for bp New Zealand Ltd

“All our bp team are incredibly proud of bp’s 52-year

association with Surf Life Saving New Zealand.

Surf Lifeguards and Surf Clubs around the country do such

great work on and off the water saving thousands of lives on

our beaches each year. It’s awesome to be able to support

these efforts through our community partnership with

Surf Life Saving New Zealand.

On behalf of all of us at bp, congratulations to each of the

2020 SLSNZ Awards of Excellence winners and nominees. Keep

up the great work!”

Awards of Excellence

Media Award

Seven Sharp & Lucas de Jong

Excellence in Public Education on How to

Survive a Rip Current


Rescue of the Year Award

The SLS Kariaotahi Emergency Call Out Squad at the NZ Search

and Rescue Awards, where they won the NZ Search & Rescue

GOLD Award for Operational Activity.

SLS Kariaotahi Emergency

Call Out Squad

Three lives saved. It doesn’t get much better for Kariaotahi’s Surf Life Saving

Club’s Emergency Call Out Squad of Shannon Benterman, Bradley Walters, Nick

Hornblow, Shannon Swann, Maddison Hare, Leanni Browne, Josh Watkins,

James Burton, Chris Parker, Mike Lawrence, Guy Hornblow and Tara Coe.

At 5.50pm on May 25, 2019, the squad was sent to the Waikato River Mouth

with an IRB and Night Operations Kit to combine with the Sunset Beach

Lifeguard Service, Westpac Rescue Helicopter and Police Eagle Helicopter to

search for a missing boat with three on board.

An hour later Eagle spotted the boat, it’s crew all wearing life jackets but about

half a mile out to sea. Westpac tried to winch them on board but the conditions

were too rough so Kariaotahi headed out, Westpac’s spotlight guiding them.

It was 7.16pm when Hornblow and crewman Walters left shore and within a few

minutes they had reached the stricken boat, pulled the crew into the IRB and

returned to shore. Two of them, a woman and seven year old boy, had little sign

of life and needed urgent care with CPR administered to the woman before she

and the boy were flown by the Westpac chopper to hospital while lifeguards

transported the man to the Surf Club where he was met by an ambulance.

Walters, the head of Surf Life Saving at Kariaotahi, said the rescue was the result

of years of training, sound processes and risk assessments in place by the

agencies involved. Without that and the fast, efficient patient pick up by the IRB

crew under difficult conditions it was almost certain that those three lives would

have been lost that night. “It was a fantastic, well coordinated, multi-agency

response which had a positive outcome for all involved,” Walters said.


Surf Sports


The dedicated TSB team committed to providing Surf Life

Saving Clubs with rescue gear this year through the provision

of their annual TSB Grants, worth $100,000. From rescue tubes

and rescue boards to hand-held radios and all-terrain vehicles,

their support was felt directly at the grassroots level. In

addition, they invested in the replacement of the battered flag

stand covers for all our clubs across Aotearoa. Patrol flags

are not only iconic but also essential lifesaving equipment

that designates the safest place to swim

on a lifeguarded beach.

TSB also support SLSNZ’s Beach Education programme that

teaches thousands of primary and intermediate kiwi kids

practical beach and water skills in a real beach setting.

Prevention is better than cure and the best way to save lives at

the beach and reduce our alarming fatal drowning toll is to

teach people how to stay out of danger. We know this

programme saves lives and TSB’s support is critical.

Donna Cooper

TSB Chief Executive Officer

Surf Life Saving New Zealand lifeguards saved over 577 lives

last summer, that’s more than 577 families who have a loved

one with them because of the work you do.

It’s a remarkable statistic.

At TSB we pride ourselves on putting people first - that means

our customers, but also our communities and, ultimately,

all New Zealanders.

That’s why we’re pleased to do what we can to support an

organisation that does so much for our country.

Awards of Excellence

Surf Official of the Year

Greg Rieger

Mt Maunganui LS

Greg Rieger, from the Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service, is

the TSB Official of the Year after yet another busy season on

the sand. It would be easier to list the events Rieger hasn’t

officiated at because his contribution is so immense. He was an

official at the Bay of Plenty junior and senior champs, Mount

Monster, Champion of the Bays and Owen Chapman, then add

to that the Eastern Regional pool, junior and senior champs.

At a national level Rieger was chief judge at Oceans, an arena

referee at Nationals and event referee at the National Pool

Champs - and found the time to mentor 10 other officials.

Not only is Greg one of the most heavily utilised officials, he’s

also one of the most popular. It is fair to say if we could clone

Greg we would because his passion and philosophy around

making events enjoyable are attributes that surf deeply values.

Awards of Excellence

Coach of the Year

Dion Williams

Wainui SLSC

Dion Williams, from Wainui SLSC, is Surf Life Saving NZ’s TSB

Coach of the Year after assisting the Black Fins at the Sanyo

World Cup in Japan last year and enjoying good success at a

local, regional and national level.

William’s athletes won 26 senior and 67 junior medals at a local

level and 55 senior medals, four junior ones at a regional level

and 32 medals at a senior national level. These are outstanding

results for the small Wainui club who finished seventh at the

ERC’s and 11th at the Nationals in Gisborne.

Williams is highly regarded in surf, helping to produce high

performance athletes, open to working with others, as he did in

assisting the Kawana Water Surf Team at Oceans 2020, and

sitting on the Gisborne/Tairāwhiti Sport Committee and the

National Sport Committee. He is a committed club man,

helping with the nippers at Wainui, running refresher courses,

volunteering as a patrol captain and, like so many in surf,

continuing to help with fundraisers and working bees.

Awards of Excellence

International Sport

Performance of the Year

Danielle McKenzie

Mairangi Bay SLSC

Mairangi Bay’s Danielle McKenzie achieved the TSB

International Sport Performance of the Year after winning all of

her ski races at the International Surf Rescue Challenge in

South Africa. McKenzie competed in five ski races over three

days of competition - three ski team races and two individual


She won them all.

At the SLSNZ Nationals McKenzie again dominated the field

across the beach in what was a truly exceptional, and record

breaking, performance. She now holds the record for the

greatest number of NZ National Title wins in Surf Lifesaving

Sport with 42 open wins (comprising individual, team, ocean

and pool rescue wins), 81 open medals and 96 medals in total

including age group medals.

Awards of Excellence



Toyota Financial Services are our exclusive vehicle sponsor for

Surf Life Saving New Zealand. They provide much needed

sponsored vehicles to support regional lifesaving delivery and

community education programmes. Our team need access

to high quality, reliable transport in order to support our

network of clubs, so we are delighted to have a fleet

that is exclusively Toyota.

As a network of volunteer-based charities, this kind of support

from our commercial partners is invaluable and makes a real

difference at the front-line. Our partnership gives the Surf Life

Saving movement a lot of confidence that we will be able to

support clubs in meeting the safety needs of the public

at our beaches into the future.

Service Award Recipients

Aaron Lyttle - Nelson SLSC

Noah Hosie - Nelson SLSC

Stuart Edens - Nelson SLSC

Alex Sutherland - Brighton SLSC

Belinda Slement - Wainui SLSC

Jeremy Lockwood - Wainui SLSC

Brendon Ferguson - Rarangi SLSC

Neil Watts - Rarangi SLSC

Amy Spiekerman - Paekakariki SL

David Jones - Paekakariki SL

Dwight Garton - Paekakariki SL

Natasha Perkins - Paekakariki SL

David Grant - Waihi Beach LS

David Litton - Waihi Beach LS

James Lloyd - Waihi Beach LS

Service Award Recipients

Bradley Walters - Kariaotahi SLSC

Dean Lawrence - Kariaotahi SLSC

Tara Coe - Kariaotahi SLSC

Debra Cairns - Red Beach SLSC

Dylan Turner - Red Beach SLSC

Robyn Presland - Red Beach SLSC

Cam Third - St Kilda SLSC

Max Corboy - St Kilda SLSC

Danny Morrison - Mairangi Bay SLSC

Tony Sands - Mairangi Bay SLSC

Craig Jamieson - Taylors Mistake SLSC

Patrice de Beer - Taylors Mistake SLSC

Kevin Russell - Westshore SLSC

Taylor Dick - Westshore SLSC

Trina Wills - Westshore SLSC

Service Award Recipients

Chris Haig - St Clair SLSC

Steph Laughton - St Clair SLSC

Justine Fleming - Otaki SLSC

Kirsty Doyle - Otaki SLSC

Donal Boyle - Omanu Beach SLSC

James Newell - Wanganui SLS

Kevin Thorburn - Onemana SLSC

Matt Flannery - Lyall Bay SLSC

Mike Litten - Waimairi SLSC

Steve Franich - Orewa SLSC

50 Year Badges

David Anderson


David Bradley

Taylors Mistake SLSC

Denys Carpenter

Pacific SLSC &

Paekakariki SL

Gary Bray


George Thomson


Graeme Danks

Red Beach SLSC

Graeme Ward

Waimarama SLSC

Graham Mauger


John Dallimore


50 Year Badges

Malcolm McClurg

Taylors Mistake SLSC

Mike Wood


Nick Kinghorn


Owen Sharpe


Robert Collis


Ross Harvey

Paekakariki SLSC

Tony Johnston


Warren Smith


Instructor &



The fantastic DHL team continued their focus to help Surf Life

Saving “drive safer beaches,” with the launch of the Flip

n Stay Safe game – a memory game that promoted our key

beach safety messages through digital gaming. We know

prevention is better than cure and the best way to save lives at

the beach is by teaching people how to stay out of danger.

The game was effective in not only engaging the public

but also helping in memory retention of our beach safety

messages, which ultimately will help change behaviours

towards keeping safer on New Zealand beaches. The winner

received $1000 cash and another $2000 was awarded to their

club of choice – in this case, it was Mairangi Bay SLSC. A hard

copy version was also produced and the game was thoroughly

enjoyed at Surf Lifesaving sports events across New Zealand.

We are truly indebted to DHL for helping reinforce

essential lifesaving messages to kiwis.

Photo Credit: Steen Bech

Selina Deadman,

DHL Express NZ Senior Director


DHL Express has been a proud sponsor of Surf Life Saving New

Zealand since 2003. Ensuring the beach is a fun, happy and

safe place is a large task, and one that Surf Life Saving New

Zealand members undertake with Passion, Speed and a Can-

Do Attitude. These are all values that we also hold at DHL

Express and reaffirms why DHL are so committed to helping

this organisation in its mission to create a safe environment on

New Zealand beaches.

We would like to recognise the hard work that Surf Life Saving

and its membership base undertake every day. DHL is proud to

be associated with such an iconic New Zealand organisation

and would like to congratulate all the award winners and

acknowledge everyone involved with making sure our beaches

are a safe and enjoyable place for all.

Instructor of the Year

Sonia Keepa

Wainui SLSC

Sonia Keepa, from Wainui SLSC, is the DHL Instructor of the

Year after a year that saw her teach 51 life guard and patrol

support candidates, six prospective IRB crew and three IRB

drivers. It will surprise no one that all 60 of those students


Keepa has always instructed at the highest level and prides

herself in ensuring her students have all the knowledge and

skills they need before they are put forward for exams. Sonia

was also involved in the planning and delivery of SLSNZ’s SLA

programme and helped with Gisborne’s SLA academy that

pulled together the region’s clubs. She was also active in

regional IRB camps and patrol workshops, and as the Chief

Instructor at Wainui she is a role model to all.

Keepa is widely liked and respected, and her students speak

fondly of her and of how she teaches. Her advocacy of water

safety and enthusiasm for life guarding is what Surf Life Saving

NZ is all about.

Awards of Excellence

Volunteer of the Year

Mike Smith

Taylors Mistake SLSC

It is almost impossible to briefly sum up Mike’s contribution to

surf lifesaving as he is active at a club, regional and national

level across a range of topics - but in particular health and

safety. He’s been on the Taylors Mistake committee for 15

years and is the club’s vice president, and for the past two

seasons he's been the club’s Health & Safety Officer - a huge

asset to the club and how we approach training, beach set

ups and event management.

Mike also continues to patrol in a support role. At a regional

and national level he runs, among many other things,

instructor and patrol captains courses and he is heavily

involved in surf events as a referee, guard, official and

selector - to name just a few of his hats. If there is a job to be

done Mike is one of those people who is always first to

volunteer. It’s fair to say Mike’s influence within surf can be

seen from the junior to senior levels, and from club through

to national. He’s an impressive bloke.

Awards of Excellence

Innovation of the Year

SLS Kariaotahi

SLS Kariaotahi is one of only a few clubs nationally that can

operate at night - and they can do it thanks to 3D printing.

Night operations are extremely dangerous and can only be

conducted by highly trained crews, operating under strict

safety controls and where the risk is justified by the realistic

potential to save life.

SLS Kariaotahi win the DHL Innovation of the Year for their use

of 3D printing to create a mount for navigation lights in an IRB

- an issue that had caused headaches for years. The light is

mounted above the engine cowling via a simple clip with the

base attached to a standard GoPro surface mount, making it

easy to attach and remove. Feedback from the Police Eagle

helicopter crew after a rescue in May 2019 of three people was

that the IRB was difficult to spot from the air at night. 3D

printing again helped with the solution. A lightweight mount

was designed to attach flashing lights to the crews’ helmets,

again via a commercially available GoPro attachment. These

lights and mounts are now part of the standard PPE for night

operations and are a part of clubs’ Night Operations Kit.

Awards of Excellence





Service Award

Ben Flynn

Paekakariki SLSC

Ben has made significant contributions to Surf Life Saving at all

levels. He's passionate about lifeguarding and the need to pass

skills on to other members of the movement. At club level, he's

been Patrol Captain for many years, undertaking lifeguarding

instruction and mentoring others under the position of

Chief Instructor.

Ben continues to contribute to club administration. At District

and Regional levels he's been a member of the Local

Lifeguarding Committee, Patrol Auditor, Examiner, Capital

Coast Call Out Squad leader, member of the Wellington

District Event Safety Team and a Wellington District IRB


Ben was on the Wellington Board from 2006 to 2010, and

served as Chair during the last year. His commitment to

lifeguarding is evidenced by his contributions at national level

where he was a member of the National Lifesaving Advisory

Committee from 2013 to 2019. He was a Head Instructor at the

Advanced Lifeguard School and was invited to take part in the

Rescue Water Craft Pilot Programme in 2008. Ben's

commitment to lifeguarding is well established and respected

by his peers and this was recognised with a Regional Life

Membership at the 2019 Capital Coast awards. Ben easily

meets the SLNZ points threshold after taking into account the

additional points for other SLNZ roles and is well deserving of a

SLNZ Distinguished Service Award.

Awards of Excellence


Service Award

Graeme Ward

Waimarama SLSC

Graeme has been a member of Surf Life Saving for more than

five decades. He’s been a member of Palmerston North,

Mairangi Bay and Waimarama Clubs and over this time has

served as a Qualified Lifeguard, Patrol Captain, and Lifesaving

Instructor, as well as competing.

Graeme has held various roles on Club Boards including

Treasurer, Registrar, Secretary and as a Board Member. In June

2020, Graeme was made a Life Member following his 51 years

of involvement in Surf Life Saving.

Awards of Excellence


Service Award

Mike Smith

Taylors Mistake SLSC

Mike has been a member of the Taylors Mistake Committee

since 2005 and has been Vice President since 2014. He’s also

the Health & Safety Officer and has been a huge asset to the

club and its approach to training, beach set-ups and event


Mike’s oversight and direction in this area is invaluable. He

continues to serve as a Patrol Support and is often seen

mentoring younger lifeguards. This passion and enthusiasm for

training new lifeguards is reflected within his regional role of


Awards of Excellence

Life Membership

Ian Robinson QSM

Waihi Beach LS

Ian Robinson has been an active member of Waihi Beach

Lifeguard Services since 1953. During that time, he's been

involved as an active lifeguard, competitor swimmer, board

member, volunteer search & rescue, coach, instructor,

examiner and many other contributing positions.

Ian’s passion for many decades has been the IRB. Ian was

selected to be a member of a team instrumental in the

development of the IRB strategies for SLSNZ. Ian’s passion

hasn't wavered over the years and he still shares his knowledge

about IRB driving, racing and maintenance. You will often find

him in the IRB shed engaging young Surf Lifeguards on the

story behind this valuable piece of rescue equipment, what

makes a good driver and how much progress lifeguarding has

made over the decades.

Ian is still an active member of the Club and is down at the

Clubhouse most days. You will regularly see him attending

sports events and actively involved in Club fundraising or social

events. He's continued to show extraordinary commitment to

making these events a success on the Waihi Beach calendar.

In 2020, 85 year old Ian was presented with a Queen’s Service

Medal for services to surf lifesaving and his local community.

He is a proud life member of Waihi Beach Lifeguard Services

and the Club is so proud to have him as a member.

Awards of Excellence




London Trophy

The London Trophy is awarded to the club that qualifies the

most Surf Lifeguard and instructor awards per capita

of refreshed members.

Nelson SLSC

Photo Credit: Steen Bech

Gudsell Trophy

The Gudsell Trophy is awarded to the club that qualifies

the most Surf Lifeguards in one season.

Red Beach SLSC

Lifeguard of the Year

Max Jones

Whangamata SLSC

Max Jones is Whangamata SLSC's club captain, a board

member and the Head Regional Guard. He's also contributed

80 hours of patrolling as a volunteer and was involved in more

than 30 rescues, including three search and rescue operations.

Max is an active patroller who is regularly “on the flags” and at

the water’s edge issuing preventative advice and guidance. He

is an instructor at the club and was involved in regional IRB

development camps, instructor/examiner briefings, IRB engine

maintenance workshops and the Eastern Region IRB

Development Review. Max was a top candidate at the National

Lifeguard School and is a highly respected leader and mentor

at his Whangamata club. He helps with everything from the

Labour Weekend muster, to fundraising and after hours


Max has a strong and positive presence on social media

around lifeguarding and is active in his club’s social and

sporting scene. But he is also never far from the water’s

edge, having spent eight hours of his final day on patrol on the


Awards of Excellence




On behalf of everyone in the Surf Lifesaving community, we would like to pass on our sincere gratitude for

all of our commercial partners. Their investment into our organisation makes a positive difference. Our

partners' commitment and continued support to our cause, enables us to support our wonderful volunteer

Surf Lifeguards and clubs, which means actual lives are saved on New Zealand beaches. This year we saved

577 lives across the country - our partners' support helps make this possible. Thank you.





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