The 2019 Aquatics Awards were held at the Waves Conference in Queenstown, and lifeguards from across Aotearoa were awarded for the incredible work they do in their communities.
The annual Aquatics Industry Awards are organised by Recreation Aotearoa to encourage development and recognition within the industry.
The Lifeguard of the Year award is given to the lifeguard who has made the most significant contribution to their facility and to the aquatics industry, and this year's winner was Michelle Tetzlaff.
Her colleagues at Wanaka Pool say that she is very dedicated and has a fantastic rapport with customers. Frequent visitors to the pool have described her as 'a breath of fresh air' and say that the pool wouldn't be the same without her.
Clair Muirhead, Swim School Team Leader says "Michelle has this crazy way of making you smile even when you are having a bad day and she always goes above and beyond."
The Aquatic Innovation Award went to Drowning Prevention Auckland for their e-learning platform, which is a New Zealand first.
The platform allows different audiences to learn 15 water competencies needed to be water safe. This knowledge will assist in the prevention of drowning and the platform will equip all New Zealanders to be safe in, on and around water.
"I am incredibly proud of the work that is taking place across New Zealand in the Aquatics Sector, we are really setting the standard for high-quality aquatic recreation," said Aquatics Programme Manager, Tracey Prince-Puketapu.
Merit awards were given to Alex Te Kowhai, Emily Robinson and Martin D' Orso in the Lifeguard of the Year competition.
The Lifeguard Team of the Year was decided at the NZ Lifeguard Championships on Monday. After a very close competition Kāpiti Koastguards and CLM Raptors were declared the winners - the first time we've had a draw!