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In It For Life

  • September 29th, 2008

In it For Life is the brilliant motto of Surf Life Saving New Zealand and looking round the delegates at the New Zealand Surf Awards on Saturday night, we should be very proud of them.

Fit and strong, old and young, men and women, it was a good looking group of kiwis in the Duxton Hotel honouring their peers and celebrating 40 years of partnership with BP and Europa.

The surf life savers enjoy life and save lives. More than 1600 people were rescued by them on our beaches last year.  Yet their funding from the NZ Lotteries Board was less than the year before, leaving them to raise the difference.   Compare that with the futile campaigns on which the Government has squandered millions eg micro chipping dogs.

The partnership with BP (originally Europa) is one of the most long lasting of commercial sponsorships.  The story is great.  Surf life saving started nearly 100 years ago on Lyall Bay beach in Wellington and New Brighton in Christchurch with teams sending out swimmers with belts and reels.  The Wahine storm of 1968 proved the worth of boats for life saving.  A month before the storm, Europa Oil had presented a boat to Worser Bay SLSC and it saved a number of lives.  Jet boats followed, but they proved expensive.

In 1975, Two kiwis, John and Chris Speight, saw the need for a fast inflatable to rescue people in the waves and developed the orange boat for New Zealand surf conditions. The BP sponsorship now supports more than 200 inflatable rescue boats nation-wide.  You will have seen them on Piha Rescue.

Nathan Smith and Liam O’Toole, 15 year olds from Papamoa, were awarded the BP Surf Rescue of the Year for saving five girls at the beach last December.  Sam Mulcahy, another youngster, from Lyall Bay SC, was also honoured for his rescue of an older man at that beach, who subsequently died.  Then there were many older surf life savers who had given up to 50 years of service, recognised in life or service awards.  They looked hearty, fit and energetic, the sort of modest guys it would be good to have a beer with.  Perhaps surf life saving is the secret to an active old age.

Two of our children have been involved in surf life saving and we hope they continue for a long time yet.



  • Jason
  • September 29th, 2008
  • 11:07 pm

Stephen you are out of touch aren’t you? Thousands of people lost millions of dollars on leaky homes. Many of which were built right here in Wellington. Surf life savers deserve our support, but so do those people who lost so much due to Nationals deregulation of the building industry. When the regulation comes off, the shoddy business people who support National and ACT make millions at our expense. Who do you want to represent Stephen, them or us?

[Jason’s comment referred to a passing criticism of the compliance costs imposed by the panicky political response to leaky buildings, next to the criticism of the dog micro-chipping project. Such a significant issue called for elaboration and Shane Jones’ subsequent announcement is an acknowledgement of the earlier mess. It will get its own complete post]

  • September 30th, 2008
  • 8:55 am

If people buy houses for social place and fashion then they should accept that they will have problems. The sensible folk follow traditional building styles which have been proved over the centuries.

People who put themselves at risk to save folk who are too stupid to behave sensibly deserve all the support.

  • Jason
  • September 30th, 2008
  • 9:42 pm

Gee National MP Paula Bennett bought a leaky house. Guess that just goes to show the talent of the National Party.

  • Jim Maclean
  • October 2nd, 2008
  • 7:57 pm

Jason’s comment confuses me. Surf lifesavers altruistically act to save lives and in a way which promotes good physical activity, social networking and respect for nature. The shameful wreckage caused by the building act and leaky buildings may well be a subject where Jason and I would agree, but in this entry, his comment is inappropriate and detracts from the good and sometimes heroic work of the lifeguards.
I give credit where it is due and will save my argument with other aspects of Stephen Frank’s politics for a more appropriate time and place. He can be justifiably proud of his family’s contribution to this work and he does well to highlight it to those of us who read his blog.

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