It is a rugged and windswept environment, often used for beach activities such as surfing, fishing, horse riding, off-road motorcycling and, most notably, paragliding. This provides lifeguards with a large variety of potential hazards to mitigate and situations to deal with as detailed as the location for 3 Rescue of the Month awards from Surf Life Saving New Zealand in two seasons (2009/2010 & 2010/2011)
Beach Name Variation
There appears to be some confusion about the spelling of Kariotahi. It has been rumoured that Karioitahi is indeed the correct way. It is usually referred to in the media, and road name, as Karioitahi Beach. However, it is also referred to as Kariotahi reasonably often as well. The local surf club has adopted the spelling Kariaotahi.
Surf Life Saving Kariaotahi
The local surf club, originally named 'Kariaotahi Surf Life Saving Patrol Inc' and later renamed in 2006 to be 'Surf Life Saving Kariaotahi Inc', was founded in 1969.
Patrols operate on all weekends and public holidays from Labour Weekend in October to March or early April, with minimum patrolling hours being 1100 hrs–1600 hrs Oct/Nov/March/April and 1100 hrs–1700 hrs Dec/Jan/February. Weekday patrols (1000 hrs–1800 hrs) are run from mid-December until late January.
SLS Kariaotahi has been recognised with several club and individual awards over its history:
- Voted Best Patrolled Beach in Northern Region for the 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2012 seasons.
- Senior Lifeguard Dean Lawrence, awarded Surf Life Saving Northern Region, Contribution to Powercraft 2006
- Long standing club member Judith Coe, awarded Surf Life Saving Northern Region, Volunteer of the Year 2006
- Senior Lifeguard Mike Lawrence, awarded Surf Life Saving Northern Region, Surf Lifeguard of the Year and finalist Surf Life Saving New Zealand Surf Lifeguard of the Year 2006
- Senior Lifeguard Chris Parker was awarded Surf Life Saving New Zealand Rescue Of The Year and Northern Regional Lifeguard of the Year for the 2009/10 season.
- Surf Life Saving Northern Region and Surf Life Saving New Zealand Rescue of the Month Winner, February 2011
- Surf Life Saving Northern Region and Surf Life Saving New Zealand Rescue of the Month Winner, Winter/November 2011
- Surf Life Saving Northern Region Rescue of the Month Winner, April 2012
SLS Kariaotahi used to be identified at competitions by an orange and chocolate-brown quarter-cap but has since adopted the colours of red, white and black which is in line with other sports teams from the region, such as the Counties-Manukau Steelers.
SLS Kariaotahi lifeguards actively compete in canoe racing and IRB racing, which are team events. Both disciplines produced medal-winning performances at the 2011 Northern Region District Championships held at Ruakaka.
The southern end of the beach and cliff, known as Maioro, is commonly used for by local paragliding schools for training beginner pilots. Qualified paraglider pilots are advised against flying in the area, thus leaving it safe and clear for beginners. Hala Coordinates:
- Leask, Anna (19 February 2011). "Teens breathe life into dying man". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
- "Motorcyclist seriously hurt in beach crash". The New Zealand Herald. NZPA. 25 October 2010. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
- "Fishermen warned over dolphin safety". The New Zealand Herald. NZPA. 29 January 2010. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
- Thompson, Eric (6 October 2010). "Weird and wonderful rally forth". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 8 October 2011.