Paekākāriki Surf Lifeguards director of lifeguarding Amy Spiekerman won the prestigious Volunteer of the Year Award at the Capital Coast Surf Life Saving Awards of Excellence in Wellington.

Since she became a qualified surf lifeguard 14 years ago at the age of 14, salt water is well and truly running through Amy's veins, with her family and social circle all part of the club.

"I've always been at the Paekākāriki club.

"It's like a little family. I don't think I'd go anywhere else."

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With over 70 qualified lifeguards at the club last season, Amy has a big job to do, all of it as a volunteer.

Organising patrol rosters and running training programmes for her own club while helping run training programmes and send volunteers to other clubs around the region is just a small part of what she does.

"As a trained paramedic Amy is known to break out a first aid pop quiz, or extra lessons in down-time during bad weather," Paekākāriki Surf Lifeguards management committee's Sandra Bednarek said.

"An amazing snapshot of her leadership was completing the Surf Swim at our club champs just three weeks prior to the birth of her daughter."

"I did this really just to get others involved, to show them if I could do it pregnant, they could do it too," Amy said.

Amy is integral to the induction of all new members and lifeguards, Sandra said.

"She provides a cool and calm presence during training, and takes time out to build strong relationships with the new members.

"She is such a positive role model."

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Even with a young family, Amy continues to help train new members, does regional guard over the Christmas break and is on the call out squad working with police and coastguard throughout the year.

"I really like the beach.

"I really like the life guarding side of things and also training people and seeing new people come through and step up.

"It's about the people.

"From Paekākāriki, the wider surf community and the public we get to interact with while on patrol or event guarding."

It was a successful night for the whole club at the awards dinner, with Ben Strombom taking out U19 Lifeguard of the Year and Teri Anderson being awarded Surf Official of the Year and a distinguished service award.

Amy also received a service award, and life membership awards were given to Ben Flynn and Matt Warren.

The club also won Club of the Year.

"Winning so many awards, it shows the depth we have in the club, especially with the service and life memberships.

"They have to be part of the club a long time to get a life membership so retaining those members is really important.

"Paekākāriki is pretty much just like one big extended family."


Kāpiti achievements in the Capital Coast Awards of Excellence:
U19 Lifeguard of the Year
Ben Strombom — Paekākāriki SL

U19 Sportsperson of the Year
Atakura Julian — Ōtaki SLSC

Surf Official of the Year
Teri Anderson — Paekākāriki SL

Volunteer of the Year
Amy Spiekerman — Paekākāriki SL

Innovation of the Year
Ōtaki SLSC

Service Award
Amy Spiekerman — Paekākāriki SL

Distinguished Service Award
Teri Anderson — Paekākāriki SL

Life Membership Award
Ben Flynn — Paekākāriki SL
Matt Warren — Paekākāriki SL