BP’s association with Surf Lifesaving New Zealand began in 1968. This enduring commitment is believed to be New Zealand’s longest unbroken corporate partnership and we are really proud of that.
Celebrating 50 years of partnership
2018 marks 50 years of BP partnering with Surf Life Saving New Zealand. Since the partnership began in 1968, BP has supported Surf Life Saving clubs around NZ in saving more than 50,000 lives and BP Inflatable Rescue Boats (IRB) have been involved in more than 21,000 search and rescues. Surf Lifeguards save hundreds of people on our beaches every year. The service they provide is free and they've had our backs for as long as most New Zealanders can remember.
In early 1968 Europa donated a new surf boat, ‘Miss Europa’ to the Worser Bay Surf Club. On 10 April in that very same year, five surf lifeguards from Worser Bay battled one of New Zealand’s worst storms and rowed Miss Europa out into Wellington Harbour to help save the lives of passengers from the sinking Wahine ferry. Unfortunately 51 people lost their lives when the ferry, travelling from Lyttelton to Wellington Harbour, ran into difficulties caused by tropical cyclone Giselle and eventually sank. A further two people died from injuries sustained on the day. The Wahine disaster was a significant day in Wellington’s history. By remembering Wahine Day each year, we acknowledge those whose lives were lost and honour those who helped. While the full force of Cyclone Giselle hit Wellington, there were also lives lost and serious injuries felt across many parts of New Zealand on that day. After this tragic event, Europa wanted to play a larger role in the communities in which it operated and began a new relationship with Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ). The relationship evolved with the sponsorship of jet boats, medical scholarships and club equipment in the 1970s and in the early 1980s jet boats were replaced with the more reliable IRBs. In 1986 a more formal three-year agreement was entered into. In 1990 the Europa brand was replaced by BP and the relationship between BP and SLSNZ became even stronger, evolving into the relationship that we now have today.
BP IRB Donation
BP is proud to continue to donation IRBs because we know how vital they are to everyday operations at Surf Lifesaving Clubs around New Zealand. BP IRBs are not only used for beach patrols but are a vital part of emergency management and are often called upon in floods and other emergencies. Every year, BP donates a brand new IRB to one of the 74 deserving lifesaving clubs around New Zealand. Far North Surf Rescue was the recipient of the 2017 brand new BP IRB. The IRB will enhance the capability of their operations and enhance the service which they provide to the community said Far North Surf Rescue Chairman Dave Ross. The $25,000 IRB Donation includes a brand new boat, engine, trailer, fuel bladder, two personal floatation devices and $100 of fuel.
There’s a BP store in almost every community where a Surf Life Saving Club operates, so along with providing monetary support to the Surf Life Saving NZ organisation, BP also works really hard to directly support local clubs each year. BP supplies $500 worth of fuel to every Surf Life Saving club around the country every year and has also recently launched the BP Leaders for Life programme. The BP Leaders for Life programme is designed to provide lifeguards with a variety of important life skills including conflict resolution, collaboration and leadership that can be taken back and applied to their communities and their clubs.