IRB gift to help newest surf club

IRB CAPABLE: The Ngati Porou Surf Lifesaving Club that patrols at Onepoto Beach at Hicks Bay each summer now has an inflatable rescue boat to use. At the presentation were, from left, Joelene Takai (Mareikura Waka ama), Te Ariki Pemana, Matiu Anderson, Uetaha Wanoa, Hayze Nepia, Silas Brown, Courtney Ireland (BP supply manager), Debi Boffa (BP managing director), Mick Kearney (SLSNZ national community education manager) Zeke Collier, Lathaniel Niwa-Karakia, Kyan Karauria, Tawhiri Kirikiri, Wiremu Maxwell, Adam Wooler (SLSNZ chief operations officer), Renee Wikaire (SLSNZ Tairawhiti club support officer) and Peter Boyd (Ngati Porou club coordinator). Picture by Liam Clayton

The Ngati Porou Surf Lifesaving Club has taken delivery of a new inflatable rescue boat (IRB) and trailer to help keep beachgoers safe at Onepoto Beach, at the top of East Cape.

BP New Zealand made the presentation to the club members at Waikanae earlier this month.

Ngati Porou SLSC coordinator Peter Boyd said the gift of the IRB had come at the perfect time for the club.

“We have had a growth in membership, with 19 newly-qualified guards.

“We can spend the winter training our lifeguards on how to operate our rescue boat, so we will be ready for next summer.”

Mr Boyd said moves were afoot to position a container at Hicks Bay to store the club’s gear, including the IRB.

BP New Zealand managing director Debi Boffa, in Gisborne for the presentation, said the company had been in partnership with Surf Life Saving New Zealand for 51 years.

The company donates a new IRB to a club every year, and this year Ngati Porou SLSC were chosen.

“It was the club’s story around the amazing contribution they make to their community that prompted our decision to donate,” said Ms Boffa.

“When we found out the club had been operating for a number of years without an IRB we wanted to change that because IRBs play a part in almost 40 percent of all rescues.”

Adam Wooler, Surf Life Saving New Zealand’s chief operations officer, said the Ngati Porou club were leading the way in community-based lifesaving.

“It was fitting that they were recognised for this by being gifted a BP IRB,” he said.

Water Safety NZ statistics show Maori are disproportionately represented in national drowning figures, especially Maori men and children, and those taking part in water-based activities, such as collecting kaimoana, boating, fishing and swimming.

Mr Boyd said there was a need to look at how to keep everyone in the community safe, and new ways to get that message across.

“We need to review our culture around the moana. With Maori it’s always about the collective, it’s not about the individual.

“If everyone’s working together everyone succeeds, and that’s like surf lifesaving. You’ve got to be part of the collective for it to succeed and for it to develop.

“We see surf lifesaving as one of the means of reviving that cultural perspective around the sea, particularly the safety of it.”

Several local teachers at the kura kaupapa in Hicks Bay have become members of the Ngati Porou SLSC.

“They will help crew the IRB throughout the winter. Two of the teachers are being trained on becoming IRB instructors themselves, and lifeguarding skills are being incorporated into the school curriculum.

“Despite fewer people in the water over winter, it is the key time for surf lifesaving clubs to train as the surf is rougher and more challenging, truly testing the new and current lifeguards —and in Ngati Porou’s case, their IRB,” Mr Boyd said.

“We will also be able to do our own training with it and support other community groups and events as needed.

“Ultimately it is for the community, not just the club, and it will make a huge difference.”

The Ngati Porou Surf Lifesaving Club has taken delivery of a new inflatable rescue boat (IRB) and trailer to help keep beachgoers safe at Onepoto Beach, at the top of East Cape.

BP New Zealand made the presentation to the club members at Waikanae earlier this month.

Ngati Porou SLSC coordinator Peter Boyd said the gift of the IRB had come at the perfect time for the club.

“We have had a growth in membership, with 19 newly-qualified guards.

“We can spend the winter training our lifeguards on how to operate our rescue boat, so we will be ready for next summer.”

Mr Boyd said moves were afoot to position a container at Hicks Bay to store the club’s gear, including the IRB.

BP New Zealand managing director Debi Boffa, in Gisborne for the presentation, said the company had been in partnership with Surf Life Saving New Zealand for 51 years.

The company donates a new IRB to a club every year, and this year Ngati Porou SLSC were chosen.

“It was the club’s story around the amazing contribution they make to their community that prompted our decision to donate,” said Ms Boffa.

“When we found out the club had been operating for a number of years without an IRB we wanted to change that because IRBs play a part in almost 40 percent of all rescues.”

Adam Wooler, Surf Life Saving New Zealand’s chief operations officer, said the Ngati Porou club were leading the way in community-based lifesaving.

“It was fitting that they were recognised for this by being gifted a BP IRB,” he said.

Water Safety NZ statistics show Maori are disproportionately represented in national drowning figures, especially Maori men and children, and those taking part in water-based activities, such as collecting kaimoana, boating, fishing and swimming.

Mr Boyd said there was a need to look at how to keep everyone in the community safe, and new ways to get that message across.

“We need to review our culture around the moana. With Maori it’s always about the collective, it’s not about the individual.

“If everyone’s working together everyone succeeds, and that’s like surf lifesaving. You’ve got to be part of the collective for it to succeed and for it to develop.

“We see surf lifesaving as one of the means of reviving that cultural perspective around the sea, particularly the safety of it.”

Several local teachers at the kura kaupapa in Hicks Bay have become members of the Ngati Porou SLSC.

“They will help crew the IRB throughout the winter. Two of the teachers are being trained on becoming IRB instructors themselves, and lifeguarding skills are being incorporated into the school curriculum.

“Despite fewer people in the water over winter, it is the key time for surf lifesaving clubs to train as the surf is rougher and more challenging, truly testing the new and current lifeguards —and in Ngati Porou’s case, their IRB,” Mr Boyd said.

“We will also be able to do our own training with it and support other community groups and events as needed.

“Ultimately it is for the community, not just the club, and it will make a huge difference.”

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