Surf life-savers around the country have been kept busy this Christmas Day having already rescued 17 swimmers around the country.

With most of the country basking in sunshine and temperatures nearing 30C, many holidayers headed to the beach for Christmas Day.

Across New Zealand around 17 people have called upon the aid of Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ) staff so far today, with rescues including swimmers trapped in rips, falls on rocks and burnt feet.

SLSNZ lifesaving manager Allan Mundy said people were out and about taking advantage of the unseasonably warm water.

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Of all the sandy hot spots, there had been a spike of rescues at Karioitahi Beach in the south of Auckland, he said.

"They have been quite busy with a few searches. It is really hot there and a person has burnt their feet on the sand and another has fallen on rocks."

Mount Maunganui Beach had also been busy with lifeguards patrolling the beach and areas of the walkways.

"The last two days have been relatively overcast so loads of people have been walking around the Mount but it is still very hot, so they have had several incidences where they have been called to people who have fainted because of the heat or lost their footing.

Crowds taking to the water to escape the heat of Christmas Day at Mt Maunganui beach today.
Crowds taking to the water to escape the heat of Christmas Day at Mt Maunganui beach today.

"On the West Coast we have a 3m swell running but I think the public can be congratulated for listening to the lifeguards' advice because we haven't had many people that we have had to rescue.

"The eastern seaboard is very quiet at the moment because the swell has disappeared altogether but the conditions are nice and warm, which is great," he said.

While the beaches were busy, Mundy was impressed by swimmers' safety consciousness and patience.

"I was on patrol yesterday and, while we were setting up flags, people were waiting to go for a swim after the flags were set up, so they could swim between the flags, which is really good.

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"We really congratulate the public at this stage for following the lifeguards' advice, being patient and using the flags when they are there.

"As yet, everybody has been able to leave the beach either via ambulance unfortunately, or alive which is a big thing for us."

He encouraged swimmers to continue talking to the lifeguards and swimming between the flags.

"We are doing a large number of assists where we help people who are getting into trouble before they really get into any real strife." he said.

"That is because we can see them when they are swimming between the flags and the guys can go in and do what they are good at doing.

"It is when we can't see people, that is when they get into real serious trouble."

The holiday weekend saw the Northern Region of SLSNZ operating at full capacity with 20 patrolled locations throughout the region and five operational rescue water crafts.

A total of 11 people were rescued in the Northern Region on Saturday and yesterday, with a further 14 people assisted and eight searches carried out.