Celebrating the Lifeguard of the Year, and all lifeguards, at the WAVES conference

September 5, 2022

Skills Active was thrilled to be part of this year’s WAVES conference for aquatics professionals, where the Lifeguard of the Year Joseph Whittaker was awarded a $1000 grant towards future study.

After a covid cancellation last year, 2022 was a long-awaited opportunity for the 250 conference delegates to come together, celebrate, connect and exchange ideas.

This year, hosts Recreation Aotearoa were also celebrating 60 years since the very first aquatics conference in 1962.

“We want to say a huge ‘ka rawe’ to Joseph Whittaker from CLM in Masterton, who won Lifeguard of the Year – recognising the big contribution he’s made to his sector and his community,” says Skills Active chief operating officer Maren Frerichs.

“Like all qualified pool lifeguards in New Zealand, Joseph is a Skills Active graduate, having completed our Pool Lifeguard Licencing Certificate,” she says.

“The same is true of his fellow lifeguards Phil Douglas from Auckland Council, Julian Carr from Kāpiti Coast District Council, and Rebecca Fraser from Christchurch City Council, who all won Lifeguard Merit Awards.”

You can read more about all of the winners here.

“As well as celebrating industry winners, the Skills Active team at the conference were also sharing the message of our new, independent work-based learning provider, Te Mahi Ako, which will start trading on 1 October,” Ms Frerichs says.

“Joseph will be able to put his $1000 grant towards future enrolments with Te Mahi Ako to gain further recognition of his highly-skilled work as a lifeguard.

“Congratulations again to Joseph and his fellow winners, and to all the lifeguards doing vital mahi in Kiwi communities every day.”

Pictured: Joseph Whittaker with Skills Active aquatics industry engagement specialist Tracey Hickman.