Surf lifesaving

Surf lifesaving clubs are critically important as they serve as frontline guardians of beach safety, saving lives, promoting water education, and fostering a strong sense of community responsibility along coastal regions.

Aotearoa, New Zealand attracts thousands of tourists and locals to its beaches every year, making water safety a top priority. Surf lifesaving clubs, staffed by dedicated volunteers, are responsible for monitoring these beaches, aiding swimmers in distress, and conducting critical rescue operations when needed.

These clubs are not just about saving lives; they also serve as hubs for community engagement and are the heart and soul of a lot of smaller coastal communities. Being predominantly volunteer organisations, investments are key to ensuring these clubs and hubs continue.

In 2020, government announced the Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund which saw $17 million invested into surf clubs around the country. The funding for surf lifesaving clubs replaced funds that could not be raised due to Covid-19 restrictions and the loss of traditional funding and fundraising opportunities. This was a significant investment which created jobs while building infrastructure in several coastal communities, having lasting benefits to local communities and for all people that use those beaches.

COVID-19 recovery funding

Discover a few examples of how Kānoa – Regional Economic Development and Investment Unit has helped in constructing and repairing surf lifesaving clubs around Aotearoa, below.

Midway Surf Lifesaving Club

A modern, two storey building with grass in front of it and pine trees all around. It has a slanted roof

Midway Surf Lifesaving Club received a $7.87 million grant to build a ‘fit-for-purpose’ surf rescue community hub that supports and enables sustainable delivery of lifeguarding services along the stretch of Midway beach to the river mouth of the Waipaoa river.

Four years in the making and set to be completed end of 2023, Midway Surf Lifesaving Club will be a vibrant and engaging addition to the Tairāwhiti region.

Read more about Midway Surf Lifesaving Club.

Onemana Surf Lifesaving Club

A new, two storey black building with wrap around windows and a balcony, looks over grass and sand dunes

Onemana Surf Lifesaving Club received a $317,000 grant for upgrades to ensure it can provide surf lifesaving support services to the local community.

The building was waterproofed and strengthened, and an upper level added which provides wide views of the beach for surf patrol purposes and a club and community area for year-round use.

With 110 people working across the project during its design and construction phase, there were 26 jobs created as a result of this project.

Pauanui Surf Lifesaving Club

Pauanui Surf Lifesaving Club received a $676,000 grant to upgrade its existing infrastructure located on the Surf Club Reserve in Pauanui.

Work included an upgrade of the patrol tower, expansion of the existing building to provide additional storage space for essential rescue equipment and replacement of the cladding and roofing.

Papamoa Surf Lifesaving Club

A new single storey building with a flat roof and windows all around it, sits atop sand dunes

Papamoa Surf Lifesaving Club received an $800,000 grant to complete the development of their new surf lifesaving club and mixed-use community facility. Completion of this project was critical to the region due to the massive population growth and the need to support other mixed use community functions.

The build began in September 2019 after years of fundraising and was completed in 2021, with 28 people working on this job over the years and 5 jobs created as a result of this project.

Read more about Papamoa Surf Lifesaving Club.

Port of Tauranga Rescue Centre

A new, grey building with tall, tinted windows, a flat roof and sponsorship logos on it

Port of Tauranga Rescue Centre (originally named the ‘Eastern Region Surf Lifesaving Rescue Centre’) received a $2.89 million grant to build a new multi-purpose community rescue centre that serves as a hub for surf lifesaving operations in the eastern region – from the top of Coromandel right down to Tairāwhiti, Gisborne.

Over 150 people were employed over the course of building this valuable infrastructure.

The project was co-funded by Port of Tauranga, Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust, Kānoa and other community organisations.

Read more about Port of Tauranga Rescue Centre.

Tairua Surf Lifesaving Club

Tairua Surf Lifesaving Club received a $699,000 grant to create a purpose-built surf club to replace the $4,000 fibrolite shack being used at the time, ensuing the facility can provide surf lifesaving and other saving support services to the local community.