Orewa Surf Lifesaving Club (the Club)

Orewa Surf Lifesaving Club, is located on Orewa Beach, has been an integral part of the Orewa and Hibiscus Coast communities for 66 years.  Its volunteer lifeguards provide a valuable service to the community. The club is a social and sporting hub for the community both locally and from across the Auckland region. The Club is iconic and a big part of the history of the Hibiscus Coast. 

Orewa Beach is one of New Zealand’s most popular recreational destinations. People of all ages come for fun on the sand, in and on the water. Many just walk and play on the beach, others swim, surf, kayak, paddle board, wind surf, kite board, fish and Jet Ski; anything to enjoy the beautiful surroundings. The Clubs mission is to ensure people stay safe and enjoy their time at Orewa Beach. We actively promote water safety, healthy lifestyle, and family involvement and build a strong community.   

A vital community service

Orewa Surf Lifesaving Club patrols Orewa Beach, Wenderholm and the wider Whangaparaoa Bay. Each year our lifeguards volunteer nearly 4,000 hours patrolling the beach. Since the Club was established, members have performed more than 1,200 rescues. Each year on average, they rescue 20 people, render first aid to 85 people, conduct 20 searches for missing people, 800 preventative actions, and 2,500 safety interventions.

The club works closely with Police and other emergency services, including Civil Defence. Its members are on call 24/7 and regularly are called to incidents outside normal patrolling hours through all 12 months of the year.

Many of our Lifeguards go on to serve on other beaches around NZ and Australia. The Club is a significant contributor to Surf Lifesaving New Zealand wide, with members holding senior leadership roles in our parent organisations, including internationally. 

As well as this the club is very much involved in Youth development and assists a wide range of youth and sporting organisations with their own activities.  

The Club house has been and still is, a focus for the local community and is used by many local community, sporting and business groups.

The club is central to the story of what it is to live in a coastal community and is actively involved in the delivery of wider community events, such as the Orewa Santa Parade, the Orewa Beach Series and assisting other community and school groups with their own events.   

Demand increasing

Demand for the services of the Orewa Surf Lifesaving Club is increasing. As the population increases and as organisations such as Destination Orewa Beach and ATEED continue to promote Orewa Beach as a visitor destination, more people are using the beach. In 2013, Statistics New Zealand forecast a 50% increase in the district’s population by 2031, not accounting for recent developments in Silverdale. 

The Club is growing

Membership has expanded rapidly as the population has increased, growing 300% in the past decade to more than 1,200 members and is now the largest surf lifesaving club in New Zealand. This membership consists of 375 juniors (aged 3-13 years), 175 seniors (aged 14 years plus) and 725 associate members (including parents and siblings of active members).  

The Club is a place for all the family.  Many come for their kids to learn water safety and become lifeguards themselves; the Club becomes their community, their friends, and the hub of their lives.

The Club is anticipating annual membership growth of 10%. That will equate to 3,000 members by 2025. This membership growth will impact on the need for increased spaces and areas for meetings, training, storage, and members’ gatherings. Since the existing facility does not meet current membership needs, the anticipated growth will only increase the difficulties.


A new facility needed

The Club has identified the need to prepare for this growth and has planned for a new facility. The existing building is old and has passed its practical lifespan with functional limitations that restrict the club’s operations and is costly to maintain. The proposed new facility is designed to meet the increasing needs of Club members and the wider community. It will allow the club to continue to serve the community and further its legacy as a significant community entity. The key factors are: 

Priority of Life Saving

It is vitally important to keep lifesaving activities as a priority. This is strongly demonstrated through the number of patrol hours and other assistance that is already being delivered. 
In addition, the growth and diversity of new water craft activities has placed increased pressure on Club services.  

As an accessible body of water that is perceived to be safe, more inexperienced users have been attracted to the area. Orewa Estuary, perceived by many to be safe, actually has strong tidal rips and is a major hazard for beach users.

This mix of higher use, inexperienced recreationists and hazardous waterways is a dangerous combination, which will increase the need for lifesaving services in the future. 

Current building not meeting needs

The Club’s original facility was built in 1960 and the upstairs addition was developed in the late 1970s and again in the early 1990s. The current condition of the Clubrooms is showing considerable wear and tear. While some repairs and maintenance have occurred, a new, larger and better designed facility is deemed necessary.

The Clubrooms are not meeting the needs of the current members in a number of ways. There is limited gear storage space, with much equipment stored in containers on-site, increasing security issues, or in member’s homes.

The current facility was built for a much smaller membership and range of activities. They now require larger spaces particularly for training, club meetings, and gear storage. 

Strategic fit

The proposed new development strategically aligns to the goals and objectives of the following key organisations: 
• Surf Life Saving New Zealand, 
• Surf 10:20 – a joint partnership between Auckland Council and Surf Life Saving Northern Region, 
• Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Act, 
• Orewa Reserve Management Plan. 

Proposed new facility

The proposed schedule of spaces has been developed with input from the Club and from best practise in developing community sport spaces, resulting in a building of 1,225 square metres.  

In addition to the lifesaving amenities and club spaces, the new building will have an enlarged hospitality area catering for members and the wider community. It will provide a restaurant, function and conference facilities not available elsewhere in Orewa, and an income stream for ongoing maintenance and operations of the Club. Positioned overlooking the beach, this is expected to be a special destination in Orewa.

Resource Consent has been granted, and the Club is now preparing for a major fundraising campaign in order to deliver this community facility.

The Orewa Surf Lifesaving Club is seeking support from the community for the development of this facility to ensure it can meet the increasing demand for life saving services. If you or your organisation wish to be a part of the redevelopment of this iconic community facility please contact Zane Taylor or John Chapman via email

Or via the club phone contact 09 4278574