A procession to the new Karekare Surf Lifesaving Club clubhouse for the official opening. Photo / Sylvie Whinray
The Karekare Surf Lifesaving Club hosted an official inauguration of its facilities by the outgoing Mayor of Auckland, Phil Goff, and a blessing for their Pou Whenua sculpted by Mihaka Marikena, donated by Te Kawerau a Maki and friends this weekend.
“We are so happy to now be able to invite all the stakeholders who have been responsible for this great achievement to personally attend the opening of the club, and for us to be able to thank them properly for all their work and efforts to bring the project to fruition,” club chairman David Munro said ahead of the event.
The new clubhouse took nearly 20 years to complete, with resource consent alone taking six years in total. The club was always happy that the consultation, planning and meetings were fully endorsed by the wider community, Tangata Whenua, the board and local funders every step of the way.
Funding for the project came from the council, Lotteries Commission, Waitakere and Portage Licensing Trusts, Foundation North, Grassroots Trust and NZCT, as well as private donations including UK filmmaker Jed FILEBy, who needed saved from the surf on a visit to the 1970s and a North Shore family who donated proceeds from the sale of a bike rack on the Trade Me auction site ($101.00 ).
The club has been patrolling Karekare on Auckland’s west coast since 1935, with passionate members who have been there for life – from local family with three generations of active lifeguards to local celebrities like former Mayor of Waitakere, Sir Bob Harvey.
New members are always welcome, says Munro, who also hosted an open house for club members on Sunday.
Surf Lifesaving New Zealand saved over 500 lives in the 2020/21 season and Karekare regularly features in these statistics.
Munro has some advice for all potential swimmers – “Always swim between the flags”.