Summer is officially here and New Plymouth District Council is this season spotlighting beach safety and changing styles.
A new partnership with Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ) will fund weekday lifeguards to help boost summer safety in the district.
And NPDC’s Puke Ariki is now showing a new exhibition – At The Beach: 100 Years of Summer Fashion in New Zealand. Running until 18 February, the costumes go from woollen bathers to skimpy bikinis and it explores Kiwis’ love of hitting the beach.
The $75,000 annual funding to SLSNZ over the next five years will help fund weekday patrols on three of the district’s beaches over the school holidays.
It will also enable SLSNZ to recruit lifeguards in Taranaki and help teach the public about water safety and being sun smart.
SLSNZ’s key message to beach-goers is to swim within the flags, always keep an eye on children, don’t swim alone and to watch out for rocks and rips.
Kelvin Wright, NPDC’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “We’ve funded SLSNZ before but we now have a five-year partnership which will provide vital cash for one of our community partners.
“We’re delighted to support SLSNZ and its work in keeping people safe this summer.”
Antony North, chairman of East End Surf Life Saving Club, says: “The funding is a massive boost to help not only SLSNZ and the clubs, but also ensures that the public can have confidence in swimming at our beaches over the summer months, knowing that they are in safe hands of the regional guards.”
Meanwhile At The Beach is now on at Puke Ariki and playfully explores Kiwis’ beach fashion culture.
From heavy woollen bathers of the Edwardian era to the skimpy bikinis of the 1970s, the exhibition reveals how society’s attitudes to modesty have changed over time.
The exhibition has been curated by the New Zealand Fashion Museum and features more than 100 garments.
It also includes a history of East End Surf Life Saving Club featuring film footage and photographs from the club’s bygone days.
SLSNZ fast facts:
- There are 1,200 rescues nationally each year
- There are 74 clubs in New Zealand
- 80 beaches will be patrolled over the summer months
- The youngest member is 14 – and the oldest is 89!
What to do if you’re caught in a rip:
- Stay calm and put your hand up and wave it side to side. Even on unpatrolled coastline, this will attract attention, alerting the emergency services.
- Try to fight the urge to swim against the current; this will use up energy that you need to stay afloat while the emergency services arrive. Most people can float for a lot longer than they can swim!
- Lie on your back and let the rip sweep you along until the current weakens.
- When the current has subsided, swim parallel to the shore for 30-40 metres before returning to shore, swimming slowly.