SLNZ: “Lucky” nobody swept away in weekend swell

Many residents did not heed advice to steer clear of the water. Photo. Jamie Troughton.

Surf Life Saving New Zealand say luck, rather than judgement, is to thank regarding nobody being swept away by recent swells in the Bay of Plenty region.

The area was inundated by storm surges across the weekend as an area of low pressure circulated to the northeast of New Zealand.

In Mount Maunganui, the base track around Mauao and Moturiki/Leisure Island were closed to the public as a result of the dangerous conditions.

However, not everybody adhered to the advice to stay away from the water and shorefront, with many onlookers and spectators observing the waves across the Bay of Plenty.

For one lifeguard, the situation was described as “carnage” and he is hopeful residents can appreciate how lucky it was that nobody got seriously hurt or worse as a result.

“Mount Lifeguards were activated in the afternoon to help advise around the Mauao base track and Leisure Island,” SLNZ lifesaving manager for Eastern Region Chaz Gibbons-Campbell says.

“They were working until about 5pm Sunday.

“They were helping with a few people who got stuck over at Leisure Island and the incoming tide.”

During Sunday’s sea swells, waves of up to 6.5m were recorded in Bowentown, while MetService recorded 8m swells in Pukehina.

Police were called to Moturiki/Leisure Island to help enforce the closure as members of the public continued to cross over the sand bar to the rock outcrops and Moturiki itself.

Chaz explains that SLNZ got numerous calls regarding spectators on rocks being knocked off their feet by the rough intruding water

“I think we were quite lucky to be honest,” he suggests.

“We had people with prams and pushchairs going around the Mount base track and that was still two hours before high tide.

“It was carnage and I think we were very fortunate that nobody actually went in.”






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@Slim Shady

Posted on 27-05-2021 21:28 | By morepork

I take it you don’t swim in surf, Slim? Any loved ones who do? Before you dismiss it, take a look at the real story: You probably weren’t here when the Wahine went down, but it is embedded in our psyche, like Tangiwai and Erebus. These people deserve our respect.


Posted on 26-05-2021 14:44 | By

Come on, I’ve seen that Bay Patrol, with its ridiculous tinted colour filming. They just hang about talking a lot. They try and build up the suspense but nothing happens. There was a missing child who’d gone for an ice cream. An old fulla had a dizzy spell. And a couple of little sharks swam by so everybody got out of the water. Apart from surfers. Snoozeville.


Posted on 25-05-2021 17:07 | By morepork

Another organization that (like St. John’s ambulance...) provides an essential service to the highest standard and yet is dependent on the goodwill and generosity of the public. Why are these organizations NOT fully funded from central Government? They have so many ways to waste money, but they can’t see what is essentially under their noses.

Inherent dangers

Posted on 25-05-2021 10:23 | By SonnyJim

Moturiki, popularly known as Leisure Island, formerly as the Public Works Mount Railway Quarry, and originally as Moturiki is a dangerous spot in bad weather. I would like to thank SunLive publicly for their reports on random behaviour during the recent storm, and also thank the volunteer services for their close monitoring of a situation that could easily have turned tragic.


Posted on 25-05-2021 10:22 | By dumb some Kiwis are. And these people expect SLNZ to be there for them when they get into trouble and think it’s okay to put their lives at risk. Unbelievable!!