New Zealand Post is celebrating the vital role that Surf Life Saving plays with the release of the ‘100 years of Surf Life Saving’ stamp issue.
The issue depicts the heroic volunteers in action – patrolling beaches and rescuing swimmers in heavy surf on beaches up and down the country.
For 100 years, the volunteer lifeguard service has saved thousands of lives from the surf, and ensured that New Zealand swimmers remain in safe hands.
Surf Life Saving has grown immensely since its early days in 1910, when a group of New Brighton community leaders decided by the light of an oil lantern to create a Surf Life Saving Club. Those early lifesavers patrolled through summer afternoons in woollen togs and carried out strict training regimes through winter in local pools and gyms.
Over the past 100 years Surf Life Saving has grown dramatically, and local volunteer brigades have transformed into highly disciplined units, ready for any situation. There are now 73 Surf Life Saving Clubs in New Zealand with nearly 15000 members protecting and saving lives.
The 60c stamp shows a surf lifeguard on duty with a rescue tube. Each day New Zealand beach patrols set out iconic red and yellow flags to show beach-goers the safest place to swim. Surf lifeguards are trained to identify potential victims and potential dangers, and over the past 100 years they have pulled over 50,000 people from New Zealand waters.
An Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) is shown on the $1.20 stamp. IRBs were introduced to New Zealand beaches in the late 1970s and quickly proved that they were able to perform quicker and safer rescues than the traditional reel, line and belt rescue method. They changed the face of lifesaving, enabling lifeguards to patrol beyond the flag, and today they account for over 60 per cent of all rescues.
The $1.90 stamp features ski paddlers in the Surf Life Saving championships. Surf sports provide a key role in making sure lifeguards have the confidence and skills to save lives. Every weekend over summer surf lifeguards train and compete against other clubs around the country, culminating with the National Championships to determine our top surf athletes.
A women’s surf boat crew is the focus of the $2.40 stamp. The first wooden surf boats were bought to New Zealand from Australian surf clubs in the 1920s and 1930s. Today surf boats have become fibre glass dream machines. They provide thrills and excitement on the beach when the boats take to the waves at surf carnivals.
The $2.90 stamp features a march past team in the 1930s. The march past was the heart and soul of every surf carnival. A grand procession of lifeguards came into the arena from each end and then marched together en masse. Now confined to history, the march past is an iconic memory of grand significance in the history of surf life saving.
Title: 100 Years of Surf Life Saving
Date of Issue: 3 November 2010
Country: New Zealand
Denominations: 60c, $1.20, $1.90, $2.40, $2.90