17 Feb 2016

Funding boost for North Island lifeguards

7:18 pm on 17 February 2016
Surf Life Saving lifeguards test out a rescue boat at Muriwai Beach, Auckland.

Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

Zespri has announced it will give $400,000 over three years to pay for the training in Bay of Plenty, Coromandel and Gisborne.

Surf Life Saving regional manager Chris Emmett said about 1200 lifeguards saved about 450 lives a year in the region.

"They volunteer their time on the beach and they're digging through their back pockets to fund themselves through lifeguard training courses, with a bit of support from the clubs.

"What this is doing is it essentially makes it a lot easier for them to upskill and get the courses and skills they need to be able to do a better job on the beaches."

Zespri chief operating officer Simon Limmer said it made sense to invest in the region.

"You count all the growers, the post-harvest operators, the seasonal workers, people involved in logistics - it's an industry of many thousands of people, most of whom are active in this area, and of course their families are using the beaches around the region.

"We really realise the impact Surf Life Saving has."

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