On the 18th of February 1913, three employees of the NZ Railways
were fishing off Paekakariki but when returning to shore their
small boat capsized in a heavy swell. Two of the men, Messers
Malcolm and Ginnane, clung to the upturned hull whilst the third
man, Walter Pengally, gave up his place. Being a strong swimmer
Pengally attempted a swim to shore but was unsucessful.
On shore a rescue party of fellow railway workers quickly formed
and John Sanderson performed a feat of outstanding heroism and
stamina to swim to the overturned boat and return the two men to
the beach in two gruelling trips to the drifting craft and back.
John Sanderson and other members of the party were awarded
the Royal Humane Society Silver Medals in recognition of these
rescues. The body of Walter Francis Pengally was washed ashore two
Deeply moved by the death of a fellow workmate employees called
a meeting in the Paekakariki Railway Social Hall on 2 March 1913 at
which it was decided unanimously to form a Surf Club. The formation
of what is today the Paekakariki Surf Lifeguards became the
10th Surf Lifesaving club formed in New Zealand, and was
the first "non-metropolitan" club in the country. When
the Wellington District Surf Lifesaving Association was formed in
the 1930s the club duly became an affiliated member.
The Paekakariki Surf Life Guards celebrated its Centenary on
Labour Weekend 2013. To see photos of the event please check
out our Facebook page here..
The Paekakariki Surf Lifeguards have an active patrolling and
sporting history, taking the title of 2011 Wellington Club of the
The Paekakariki Rail and Heritage Museum have a great article on
the history of the Paekakariki Surf Lifeguards. Check out their website for more