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