Media Release 14 March 2007
Muriwai volunteer lifeguards win February “Real Groovy Rescue of the Month” for mass rescue at Maori Bay
Muriwai Volunteer Lifeguards have won the February 2007 Surf Life Saving Northern Region Real Groovy Rescue of the Month
for the impressive skills demonstrated during a mass rescue at Maori Bay on 10 February 2007.
A church group visiting Maori Bay found themselves in difficulty when two teenage girls were swept out to sea. Two male
adults, including the Reverend, went to the aid of the two girls. One of the male adults managed to assist one of the
girls but the other adult male and teenage girl were swept out and around the end of Maori Bay towards Flat Rock.
Surf Life Saving Northern Region Development Officer Andy Kent said this rescue highlighted the need for people to swim
between the flags at a lifeguard patrolled beach.
“On the day this rescue occurred there were some two thousand beachgoers enjoying Muriwai Beach. It makes it incredibly
difficult for lifeguards when people swim outside of the flags and in areas that lifeguards aren’t patrolling. It was
lucky that a member of the public raised the alarm and that the lifeguards involved were highly skilled and read the
The Lifeguards involved will be presented with a certificate, Real Groovy vouchers and two Hutchwilco lifejackets and as
part of the award. The winning of this award automatically puts this rescue up for the Surf Life Saving New Zealand
National Rescue of the Month award.
Further Information SURF LIFE SAVING NORTHERN REGION RESCUE OF THE MONTH
Name of Club / Service:Muriwai Lifeguard Service Date of Incident:Saturday 10 February 2007 Time of Incident:1615 –
approx 1830 Names of Lifeguards Involved: (all must be refreshed))Brendan Barry Walsh (PC), Justin Barr, Jean Paul Da
Silva, Andrew Crook, Mark Farnsworth, Finbar Marshall, Dirk Van Der Woerd, Gemma Shepherd and Bradford McConnochie
Location of Incident:Maori Bay/Flat Rock
Saturday 10 February 2007 was a busy summer’s day at Muriwai Beach with lifeguards supervising a crowd of almost two
thousand beachgoers. At 1615 a phone call from a member of the public raised the alarm that four people were caught in
strong currents between Muriwai and Maori Bay. Immediately two senior lifeguards - Justin Barr and Jean Paul Da Silva -
were dispatched from the mobile patrol tower to Flat Rock to investigate the call for help. Once Justin and Jean were at
Flat Rock they saw several fishermen trying to help a male in trouble.
The lifeguards quickly performed a double tube rescue on the distraught man but with waves breaking against the rocks
less than ten meters away the situation was potentially dangerous so they called for assistance from an Inflatable
Rescue Boat (IRB). Meanwhile, prior to the call an IRB had broken down north of the patrolled area and the second IRB
had gone to assist. Both IRB's heard the rescue call and the decision was made to leave the broken down boat and assist
with the rescue.
IRB crew Finbar Marshall and Mark Farnsworth drove north and found a surfer carrying a distraught teenage girl back to
shore on his board. Lifeguard Andrew Crook was jumping off Flat Rock with a group of juniors at the time and also saw
the girl in trouble and went to assist by securing the girl in his rescue tube. Recognizing that the situation was under
control, the IRB followed tube signals to a second patient – the male that the two lifeguards were assisting at Flat
rock. Allowing two large waves to pass by, the boat manoeuvred for the patient pickup. With the patient safely secured
in the front of the boat, the IRB signalled for assistance upon returning to shore. Patrol Captain Brendan Barry Walsh
met the IRB on the shore and took charge of the patient. Brendan Barry Walsh updated the IRB driver that another two
people may be in trouble and that the IRB should return to Maori bay to check. On arriving at Maori Bay, a distraught
group were gathered near the shoreline and the IRB crew went to investigate. The events that caused the rescue were
explained. A church group visiting Maori Bay were swimming when two teenage girls were swept out to sea. Two male
adults, including the Reverend, went to the aid of the two girls. While one male adult managed to assist one of the
teenagers, the other two were swept around the end of Maori Bay towards flat rock.
The two patients who had just successfully made it back to shore were transported via IRB to the club to receive first
aid treatment for minor hypothermia and cuts sustained from climbing up the rocks.
First Aid was also performed on the male patient picked up in the IRB and the female patient who was tube rescued by
Andrew Crook. These patients had serious cuts and abrasions received from attempts to climb up the rocks, these patients
were also in minor shock and were given oxygen and referred to a doctor to check for a possible infection.