The year's top achievements in surf life saving have been recognised at the Zespri Bay of Plenty and Coromandel Surf Life Saving Awards of Excellence.

During the 2018/19 year, 164 people were rescued from immediately life-threatening situations by lifeguards from the 14 surf life saving clubs in the Bay of Plenty and Coromandel Peninsula areas.

Another 322 people were also helped to safety from potentially dangerous situations.

Bay of Plenty and Coromandel lifeguards carried out more than 38,000 preventative safety actions, put in 55,293 patrol hours at 24 different locations, spent 206 hours responding to emergency call-outs, and gave first aid to 1057 people.

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The Surf Life Saving NZ year runs from July 1 to June 31.

SLSNZ Coromandel Club and Member Development Officer Chaz Gibbons-Campbell said so many people in each of their clubs put in so much time and energy to keep lifeguards out on the beaches saving lives.

Top volunteer Andrew McDowell. Photo / Supplied
Top volunteer Andrew McDowell. Photo / Supplied

"Each time our lifeguards protect someone from danger or save a life it shows the value of these teams – the difference they make to their communities is enormous.

A large number of nominations were made for the awards, making judging tough, Gibbons-Campbell said.

The top volunteers of the year, for each area, were Andrew McDowell for Bay of Plenty, and Rachelle Bright for Coromandel.

McDowell has been heavily involved in leadership, mentoring, coaching and fundraising for his club Pukehina Surf Rescue, as well as being a patrol captain and senior lifeguard, carrying out maintenance work, helping organise and run a fundraising food truck, and investing a huge amount of time and effort into a new clubroom building project.

Top volunteer Rachelle Bright. Photo / Supplied
Top volunteer Rachelle Bright. Photo / Supplied

"Andy's commitment in all areas of club operation has ensured that Pukehina has been able to continue to thrive," said Pukehina Surf Rescue secretary Deirdre Harris.

Former Whangamata Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC) captain Rachelle Bright served in that role for the past three seasons, said new club captain Max Jones.

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In the last year she has been a junior surf coach, new lifeguard instructor, and helped organise training courses.

Regionally she has been a lesson designer, patrol auditor, instructor and examiner, was chairwoman of the area life saving committee, and contributed to peer support.

"For the past 10 years Rachelle has held a range of roles within the club. Rachelle has dedicated herself to the club, implemented new initiatives, and has been a positive influence on all members throughout the entire season," Jones said.

The Sports Team of the Year went to Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service's U16 Men's Relay Team, made up of Zachary Reeder, Daniel Shanahan, Matthew Wagstaff and Tarquin Magner.

The team took out three gold medals and a silver at TSB Surf Life Saving Nationals in March.

Emerging Official of the Year went to Caitlin Harris of Papamoa SLSC, who was an event marshal for local, regional and national events, as well as a timer, finish judge and recorder.

She also took part in fundraising, lifeguarding and event guarding, and is an athlete.

"Caitlin is an emerging leader for our club. She shares her knowledge as an experienced lifeguard, helping encourage and motivate our rookies," said Papamoa SLSC chairwoman Angela Hayden.

The Coromandel Innovation of the Year award was won by the Wahine on Water project, for a series of training days and networking to develop more female IRB (Inflatable Rescue Boat) crew instructors and mentors, with the end goal of encouraging more female IRB crew trainees.

The project was the brainchild of lifeguards Phoebe Havill of Onemana SLSC, Julia Conway of Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service, Philip Pirie of Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service, and Paul Hardy of Piha SLSC, and so far has led to two successful training days, involving 60 trainees, with a third planned for early August.

The Coromandel Rescue of the Year was awarded to Whangamata SLSC lifeguards Phoebe Havill, Callum Fulton, Andrew Earl-Peacock and Andrew Hodgson, for the tricky technical rescue of three family members who got stuck on an offshore island while kayaking.

The Bay of Plenty Rescue of the Year was won by Papamoa SLSC lifeguards Liam Porter, Andrew Callaway, Ariana Moffat, Michelle Dykes, Lynda Hitchfield, Jack Hitchfield, Billy Bury, Alex Padfield, Liam Moffat and Leon Castle, for rescuing and giving vital first aid care to a man who had suffered a serious spinal injury in the water.

The supreme award in both the Coromandel and Bay of Plenty areas is the Zespri Club of the Year Award, this year won by Mt Maunganui Lifeguard Service in the Bay of Plenty and by Waihi Beach Lifeguard Service in the Coromandel.

Zespri Bay of Plenty and Coromandel Awards of Excellence 2019:

Emerging Coach of the Year - Cameron Witney
Coach of the Year - John Bryant
Emerging Official of the Year - Caitlin Harris
Official of the Year - Joanne Miller
Sports Team of the Year - Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service U16 Mens Relay Team (Zachary Reeder, Daniel Shanahan, Matthew Wagstaff, Tarquin Magner)
Sportsperson of the Year U14 Male - Mitchell Bark Riki
Sportsperson of the Year U14 Female - Lucinda Bartlett
Sportsperson of the Year U16 Male - Daniel Shanahan
Sportsperson of the Year U16 Female - Molly Shivnan
Sportsperson of the Year U19 Male - Lochlainn O'Connor
Sportsperson of the Year U19 Female - Alicia Wilson
Sportsperson of the Year Open Male -Hamish Miller
Sportsperson of the Year Open Female -Natalie Peat
Sportsperson of the Year Masters Male - Ian Glover
Sportsperson of the Year Masters Female - Naomi Davoren
International Sports Performance of the Year Individual - Lochlainn O'Connor
International Team Sports Performance of the Year - U19 Mens Board Rescue Team (Lochlainn O'Connor & Declan Dempster)
Beach Education Instructor of the Year - Ariana Moffatt
Rookie Lifeguard of the Year - Keaton White

Bay of Plenty awards:

Emerging U19 Volunteer Lifeguard of the Year -Lukas Harris
Pacific Medicare Volunteer Lifeguard of the Year - Haven Bellamy
Regional Lifeguard of the Year - Julia Conway
Patrol Captain of the Year - Andrew McDowell
Instructor of the Year - Ryan Hohneck
Examiner of the Year - Danielle Shepherd
Volunteer of the Year - Andrew McDowell
Innovation of the Year - Online Learning Tool Box, Vivien Conway
Rescue of the Year - Papamoa SLSC *

* For a rescue on February 12, 2019, by Liam Porter, Andrew Callaway, Ariana Moffat, Michelle Dykes, Lynda Hitchfield, Jack Hitchfield, Billy Bury, Alex Padfield, Liam Moffat and Leon Castle.

Pacific Medicare Patrol Club of the Year - Papamoa SLSC
Zespri Overall Club of the Year - Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service

Coromandel awards:

Emerging U19 Volunteer Lifeguard of the Year - Bree McCowatt
Pacific Medicare Volunteer Lifeguard of the Year - James Lloyd
Regional Lifeguard of the Year - Lucy Scown
Patrol Captain of the Year - Georgia Eldridge
Instructor of the Year - Hamish Clayton
Examiner of the Year - James Lloyd
Volunteer of the Year - Rachelle Bright
Innovation of the Year - Wahine on Water *

* A project to encourage more female lifeguards to train as IRB crew (Inflatable Rescue Boats).

Rescue of the Year - Whangamata SLSC *

* For a rescue on November 20, 2018, by Phoebe Havill, Callum Fulton, Andrew Earl-Peacock and Andrew Hodgson.

Pacific Medicare Patrol Club of the Year - Whangamata SLSC
Zespri Overall Club of the Year - Waihi Beach Lifeguard Services

Eastern Region Service Awards:

Eastern Region Service Award - Alicia Upjohn
Eastern Region Service Award - Haven Bellamy
Eastern Region Service Award - Margaret Williams
Eastern Region Distinguished Service Award - Paul Treanor
Eastern Region Distinguished Service Award - Denise Bracken
Eastern Region Distinguished Service Award - Matthew Williams
Eastern Life Membership Award - Boyd Harris