Papamoa lifeguards celebrate 25 years

These seven young Papamoa recruits are looking to lead the club through the next 25 years, from left, Mya Henricksen, Katie Saunders, Lily Crouch, Rico Ivamy, Azrael Cabusao, Elly Shirley and Jamie Cabusao. Photo by Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Media Services
These seven young Papamoa recruits are looking to lead the club through the next 25 years, from left, Mya Henricksen, Katie Saunders, Lily Crouch, Rico Ivamy, Azrael Cabusao, Elly Shirley and Jamie Cabusao. Photo by Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Media Services

It started as a lonely outpost with a few hardy souls – 25 years later, the Papamoa Surf Lifesaving Club is the centre of a burgeoning community.
The club will celebrate its 25th anniversary with a gala dinner this weekend, with members already looking towards the next 25 years.
Club chairman Andrew Hitchfield points out that, with a 800-strong roster expected this season, Papamoa is now one of the largest three clubs in the country.
“It’s been an incredible 25 years already, with huge growth in both the club and the community,” Hitchfield said.  “We’ve got firm plans and some great ideas on how to manage both those aspects, although this weekend is all about recognising the wonderful people who have got the club to where it is today.”
Although a Papamoa club was formed in the 1930s, it went into recession during World War 2.  It wasn’t until 1990 that moves were made to reestablish a separate club, after years of Omanu patrolling an 18km stretch of beach with a tower at Papamoa Domain and a caravan at Karewa Parade.
A public meeting gave the go-ahead on November 1990, with 76 nippers completing the first official intake of club members and 12 parents sitting their lifeguard awards later that season.
Papamoa-based lifeguards took over full patrol duties in January 1992.
Fast-forward two decades and the club is now producing world champion athletes and teams and is a powerful force at national level.
The club’s youth team collected the overall title at the Rescue 2014 world championships, emulating the deeds of the IRB team, who added the world title to defending their national championship earlier this year.
Papamoa has four life members – Gary Hailwood (1998), John Woolley (2000), Paul Kayes (2010) and Matthew Pickering (2014).  The Kayes and Pickering families have been prominent members in recent years, along with the Bryant, Johnston, Cowdrey, Miller and Smith clans.
Plans are now accelerating to build a new multipurpose community facility where the existing surf club is, with a feasibility study nearly finished and due to be released before Christmas.
The club also has a new coach, with Matt Cairns recently taking over the athlete development programme.
“I’m really proud of where the club is at but it’s really important that we keep moving forward, keep up-skilling our junior members and focus all our efforts on being relevant to the community we serve,” Hitchfield said. “It’s an exciting time for the club and this weekend’s event is a great way to kick off a big season.”

Photo by Jamie Troughton Dscribe Media Services info@dscribe.co.nz

Photo by Jamie Troughton Dscribe Media Services info@dscribe.co.nz

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