Zespri today announced it will be the Primary Regional Partner for Surf Life Saving New Zealand in Bay of Plenty, Coromandel and Gisborne, offering free lifesaving training for local lifeguards.
Surf Life Saving New Zealand Eastern Region Manager Chris Emmett says that with 1,200 lifeguards from the 19 clubs in this region, offering training at no cost to participants will make a huge difference to beach safety. Training courses typically cost hundreds of dollars and the cost has until now been borne by individual lifeguards and clubs.
“We rely on the support of our partners to do what we do. In a typical season, lifeguards rescue 1,200 people nationwide and prevent thousands more from getting to the point of needing rescue in the first place so this support will literally help us save lives.”
Zespri Chief Operating Officer Simon Limmer explains around 85 percent of Zespri Kiwifruit is grown in these regions and this partnership is Zespri’s way of giving back to the communities who support this industry.
“We will provide free training opportunities for all local lifeguards in the Eastern Region over the next three years, as well as providing rescue tubes and additional equipment to the Zespri Clubs of Year. Surf lifeguards save around 450 lives a year in our region and provide a vital service to the families who live and work in our regions.
“Kiwifruit is a large contributor to our local economy and our beaches are such an important part of life in these coastal regions. This is Zespri’s way of thanking the communities who’ve helped build our industry’s success – by doing our part to keep the beaches safe for everyone to enjoy,” says Mr Limmer.
The partnership was launched at an event at the Mt Maunganui Lifeguard Service clubrooms tonight, with representatives from central and local government joining together with the kiwifruit industry and Surf Life Saving community.
Zespri will contribute $400,000 over three years to this initiative in the Eastern Region, as well as supporting Surf Life Saving New Zealand as a National Partner.
The free training on offer to Eastern Region lifeguards includes inflatable rescue boat (IRB) training, Patrol Captain and Intermediate Lifeguard courses. A number of scholarships will also be available for Surf Life Saving’s National Lifeguard School and BP Leaders for Life development programmes. Winners of the Zespri Club of the Year will also receive additional lifesaving equipment, with $5,000 of equipment going to each of the three winning clubs across the Bay of Plenty, Coromandel and Gisborne.
Mr Emmett says the partnership will have a real impact on the training and development of lifeguards and will enable Surf Life Saving in the Eastern Region to provide a better service to the local community, including many of those involved in the kiwifruit industry. “With Zespri’s strong presence in the region, it’s great to know that their support will have such a direct impact.”