Muriwai’s Lifeguards

The Surf Club at Muriwai is the realisation of nearly 15 years planning and fundraising on the part of the Muriwai Volunteer Lifeguard Service, or MVLS.

Recognised as the busiest surf life saving club in New Zealand, 660 members participate in club activities and contribute the volunteer lifeguard service. The club is renowned for being at the forefront of developing lifesaving practices globally. It is also internationally successful in surf life saving competitions. Muriwai is New Zealand’s pre-eminent lifeguard training venue, and a highly popular destination for schools beach education classes.

The Surf Club at Muriwai provides world-leading facilities that ensure MVLS can continue to meet the demands imposed by a challenging high-risk beach, and the 1.4 million visitors year round pursuing an increasingly diverse range of recreational activities.

Learn more about the Muriwai Volunteer Lifeguard Service by visiting their website

Muriwai Volunteer Lifeguard Service at a glance…..

  • More than 1.4 million people visit Muriwai each year.
  • Muriwai beach holds a hazard rating of 8/10 and Facility Visitation Rating of 25/30 – it is the highest risk beach in New Zealand.
  • No lives have been lost at Muriwai in patrolled areas in the 66 years the club has been in service.
  • On average each year Muriwai lifeguards perform 60+ major rescues resulting in the saving of a life each time.
  • 160+ lifeguards patrol Muriwai and its adjoining coastline from October to April each year, contributing in excess of 7500 volunteer hours.
  • Muriwai lifeguards have responsibility for responding to incidents along 25km of adjoining coastline, and also respond to medical emergencies throughout the local community.
  • Today the Club maintains the country’s most extensive array of lifeguard equipment including several IRB’s, 2 quadbikes for roving patrols, a highly specified 4wd utility vehicle for major incident support, portable resuscitation and life support kits, and a patrol observation / coordination tower from which to manage beach / rescue operations.
  • Each year the Club expends in excess of $200,000 on operational costs, equipment replacement, sport, depreciation and membership development programmes.
  • Since 1980 27 people have unintentionally drowned at unpatrolled stretches of Muriwai Beach. 3000 lives have been saved in this time.
  • Muriwai lifeguards respond to more than 65 first aid incidents and medical emergencies each year.
  • Each summer 250 ‘nippers’ aged 5-13 regularly participated in junior lifeguard activities over 26 weekends involving beach safety skills and sports activities as part of their progression to being ‘rookie’ lifeguards.
  • 150+ parents, active reserve members and associate members actively support the Club in administrative, coaching, fundraising and similar roles.
  • 43% of Muriwai’s frontline lifeguards are female.
  • The club is regularly amongst the finalists at the NZ Championships. It is the 2014 champion surf boat rowing club nationally and is regarded as a top IRB racing club. As recently as 2002 the Club achieved an 11th placing at the World Championships – the best ever result by a NZ club.
  • Muriwai has pioneered many advances in surf rescue techniques and equipment. The club introduced the rescue tube to NZ – the frontline lifeguard’s basic rescue tool. Muriwai’s lifeguards pioneered jet rescue boats and the helicopter rescues in the 1970s, and IRBs in the 1980s. Pre-hospital emergency care (PHEC) and Advanced Lifeguard Training Schools were implemented first by Muriwai in the early 1980s.
  • In 2010 Muriwai has been named SLSNR’s Club of the Year, and Best Patrolled Beach. At the 2009 SLSNR Awards of Excellence, Muriwai lifeguards were named Regional Lifeguard of the Year; Beach Education Instructor of the Year; Rookie Lifeguard of the Year; Under 19 Lifeguard of the Year; District IRB Champions; won the Rescue of the Year; and the club was named Competition Club of the Year.
  • Muriwai’s varied and challenging coastal environment sees the Club recognized and highly utilized as the national centre of training excellence. National and international training courses are frequently staged at Muriwai.
  • 2200+ school students participate in beach safety education classes at Muriwai each year.
  • Muriwai lifeguards achieved an 11th placing at the 2002 World Championships – the best ever result for a NZ club.
  • Muriwai is the only NZ club to have hosted the World Lifesaving Championships, in 1998.