The best Bay of Plenty surf lifeguards were honored for their hard work and dedication to saving lives tonight at the 2014 Surf Life Saving Bay of Plenty Coromandel Awards of Excellence.
Omanu's Jono York was awarded Volunteer of the Year in the Bay of Plenty area.
Surf Life Saving New Zealand Eastern Regional Manager Chris Emmett said Mr York had been a Board member and had run the Junior Surf Programme at Omanu Beach Surf Life Saving Club for the last five years.
"The Omanu programme is considered the largest Junior Surf Club based programme in New Zealand. This effort and years of dedication culminated in Omanu Beach taking out overall club honours at the New Zealand U14 Surf Lifesaving Championships for the first time in February 2014," he said.
Mount Maunganui's Danielle Shepherd was awarded Lifeguard of the Year for the Bay of Plenty area.
Mr Emmett said Danielle had given up countless hours to reach this level of nomination for Lifeguard of the Year and truly deserved her recognition.
Rescue of the Year for the Bay of Plenty was awarded to Whakatane Surf Life Saving Club for a rescue on August 10. Divers stranded on the rocks by the rising tide may have perished if it wasn't for a daring rescue in rough seas on the coast between Whakatane and Ohope that involved three of the clubs lifeguards.
The celebration of surf lifesaving took place at Trinity Wharf in Tauranga and was attended by around 140 people.
This year, there was a new awards format to reflect the growth in lifesaving in both the Coromandel and Bay of Plenty areas. The lifesaving awards were split between the two respective areas to allow for the recognition of more volunteers.
Mr Emmett said local volunteer lifeguards put in 60,621 hours of service over the 2013/14 season, keeping beaches safe across the Eastern Region and last night was the night for them all to be recognised for their achievements.
"They should all be extremely proud of themselves and their fellow lifeguards for their outstanding efforts," he said.
Surf Life Saving Clubs in the Bay of Plenty/Coromandel areas included Hot Water Beach, Tairua, Pauanui, Onemana, Whangamata, Whiritoa, Waihi Beach, Mt Maunganui, Omanu Beach, Papamoa, Maketu, Pukehina, Whakatane and Opotiki.
A number of other awards were given out at the ceremony and the full list of awards for the Bay of Plenty area are:
U14 Female Sportsperson of the Year: Isabella Akroyd (Mount Maunganui).
U14 Male Sportsperson of the Year: Mitch Cowdrey (Papamoa).
U16 Female Sportsperson of the Year: Libby Bradley (Mount Maunganui).
U16 Male Sportsperson of the Year: Kane Sefton (Mount Maunganui).
U19 Female Sportsperson of the Year: Natalie Peat (Papamoa).
U19 Male Sportsperson of the Year: Ben Cochrane (Omanu).
Open Female Sportsperson of the Year: Natalie Peat (Papamoa).
Open Male Sportsperson of the Year: Kodi Harman (Papamoa).
Masters Female Sportsperson of the Year: Deborah Reardon (Mount Maunganui).
Masters Male Sportsperson of the Year: Damian Munro (Mount Maunganui).
Surf Official of the Year: Ross Merrett (Papamoa).
Emerging Coach of the Year: Justin Martin (Papamoa).
Coach of the Year: Kurt Wilson (Papamoa).
International Sports: Ben Johnston (Papamoa).
Sports Team of the Year: Papamoa U/19 Board Relay Team.
Bay of Plenty Lifesaving Award Winners:
Bay of Plenty Patrol Captain of the Year: Danielle Shepherd (Mount Maunganui).
Bay of Plenty Instructor of the Year: Gary King (Mount Maunganui).
Bay of Plenty Examiner of the Year: Gary King (Mount Maunganui).
Pacific Medicare Bay of Plenty Lifeguard of the Year: Danielle Shepherd (Mount Maunganui).
Bay of Plenty Innovation of the Year: Mount Monster (Mount Maunganui).
Bay of Plenty Volunteer of the Year: Jonathon York (Omanu).
Bay of Plenty Rescue of the Year: Whakatane Surf Life Saving Club - 10th August 2013 Rescue.
Supreme Club Award Winners:
Pacific Medicare Bay of Plenty Patrol Club of Year: Pukehina Surf Lifesaving Club.
Overall Bay of Plenty Club of the Year: Mt Maunganui Lifeguard Service.
Overall Coromandel Club of the Year: Trust Waikato Waihi Beach Life Guard Service.