A little of Surf Life Saving New Zealand history...
Surf Life Saving is one of the best imports we've ever had from
Australia. It was on its long sweeping beaches and in its crashing
waves that lifesaving was born in 1906. The traditions that took
root there first came to the shores of Lyall Bay and New Brighton
in 1910. By the end of the year, four more clubs had sprung up and
New Zealand lifeguard wore the same style of costumes and caps
as their Australian counterparts. The reels they carried proudly
onto the sand were manufactured in Australia and shipped across the
The story of Surf Life Saving New Zealand is one of
extraordinary efforts to save people from the unpredictable seas.
For 60 years, that meant teams of lifeguard lifting reel and line
to the beach. The reel anchored victim and rescuer together. It
also anchored itself in the culture of New Zealand lifeguard. A
major shift of thinking was needed to free lifesaving to take to
the water with fins and neoprene rescue tubes, rubber rescue
crafts, motors, jet boats and helicopters in the 1970s. However,
the shift revolutionised lifesaving. It made it more professional,
effective and shortened rescue times from hours to minutes.
The 1930s became a golden age for surf lifesaving. Superstar
lifeguards were exalted as heroes of the nation. Theirs were
household names. Jarvis. Dalton. Ryan Families of champions. Clubs
grew in the respect and esteem of the nation as they won national
surf life saving championships. The winners of the Nelson Shield
returned as heroes to their hometown or city. They were honoured
and feted as today's rugby stars are.
The precision and beauty of lifeguard attracted massive crowds.
It was not uncommon to have 10,000 at a carnival.
Clubs broke down social barriers and established a comradeship
between strangers. Selection from lifesaving tended to break down
prejudices. All clubbies were treated equally - lawyers, plumbers
and farm hands worked together to save lives. Their only
qualification was an ability to move through the surf. A bronze
surf medallion (now the Surf Lifeguard Award) was the entry to a
new world that didn't exist in any factory of office block. That
egalitarian attitude continues until this day.
But women still had to battle for equality. Though they were
originally welcomed into clubs as full clubbies, the 1930s saw the
heroic bronzed and tanned man become the idealised image of the
beach. When those young men went overseas to fight and die in World
World II, women again found their rightful place. They took up the
reel and patrolled the beach on summer weekends. Surf history shows
a string of mass rescues performed by women lifesavers in the
1940s. However when the men returned, those women were often
relegated to fundraising, tea making and cake baking. Many broke
off and started 'ladies' lifesaving clubs, often near the
clubhouses of their former colleagues. These days women stand
alongside men on surf patrols throughout New Zealand and compete in
all the same events.
Surf Life Saving in New Zealand these days is now stronger than
ever. Every year, hundreds of people are making the same decision
as those clubbies back in the 1910. They are joining and
origination and family that has seen enormous change in it's over
Through the long summer months, the guardians of the beach are
ever on the lookout for an upraised hand, ears pricked for a cry
for help. The red and yellow flag has remained a symbol of safety
in the surf. Though traditions, equipment and practices have
changed, one fact has endured: lifeguards are In it for Life.
(Paraphrased from Between the Flags - written by Bob Harvey,
President of Surf Life Saving New Zealand 2009-2012)
structure of Surf Life Saving Northern Region
Surf Life Saving Northern Region is the largest region in New
Zealand covering as far south as Raglan up to Far North with 17
Surf Clubs based in the area. Around 6,000 people are members
of SLSNR and the 17 clubs are supported by Surf Life Saving
Northern Region staff.
The governance of Surf Life Saving Northern Region
Surf Life Saving Northern Region has a Governance Board of seven
people. The Board employs the Chief Executive and the CE delivers
an annual management plan to support the Board's strategies that
will see the organisation fulfill its purpose: "Protecting our
community in the water".
Funding of Surf Life Saving
Surf Life Saving Northern Region coordinates
the delivery of lifesaving activities through the 17 clubs in it's
region. We deliver a vital
community service, our business
includes the delivery of lifesaving
activity, club development, water safety education, sport, and
leadership development programmes. SLSNR's income is
$3m a year derived from sponsorship,
gaming grants, community trusts
and Council funding.
SLSNR does not charge a membership levy,
instead providing programmes and distributing over
$750k each year to clubs.
The sport of Surf Life Saving
Surf Sport has a long and proud history within Surf Life Saving.
Surf Sport plays a significant role in ensuring that our members
have the ability and passion to meet the changing environment
within which Surf Life Saving delivers its essential lifesaving
Surf Life Saving New Zealand are current World Champions, with
our Black Fins team winning Rescue 2012 in Adelaide, Australia. Our
Under 20 New Zealand Team finished second in the inaugural World
Youth Championships. Read more here.