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Commemoration - 18 February 2013

On 18 February 2013 Paekakariki Surf Life Guards and the Paekakariki Community commemorated possibly the first recorded drowning at Paekakariki Beach. 

One hundred years ago on February 18, 1913, three employees of the NZ Railways were fishing off Paekakariki when while returning to shore their small boat capsized in a heavy swell. Two members of the boat, Messers Malcolm and Ginnane, were able to cling to the upturned hull of the boat. The third member, Mr Pengally, was a strong swimmer and gave up his place on the upturned hull to his less able friends and tried unsuccessfully to swim to shore. On shore a rescue party of fellow railway workers quickly formed and John Sandersonperformed 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 Royal Humane Society Silver Medals in recognition of these rescues.

The body of Walter Francis Pengelly was washed ashore 2 days later. 

Deeply moved by the death of a fellow workmate employees called a meeting in the Paekakariki Railway Social Hall on 2 March 1913at 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.  Paekakariki Surf Life Guards will celebrate its Centenary on Labour Weekend 2013.

To mark the anniversary of Mr Pengelly's drowning, on Monday February 18th, current members of the club conducted a land based service followed by a wreath laying at sea by a large flotilla of current surf craft. 

Commemoration feb 18 2013

Paekakariki Surf Lifeguards gather at the clubhouse before leaving the beach for the commemorative flotilla, February 18, 2013.

oars up, commemoration

Oars raised: Surf club members raise the oars as club coach Shane Radovanovich prepares to lower the wreath into the sea.


For more photos of the Commemorative Service please check out our Facebook photo album at the link...