Franklin’s Dean Lawrence is a man on a mission—to keep people safe in New Zealand’s inviting, yet entirely unpredictable waterways.
Dean is the CEO of the Spirit of Adventure Trust and has been involved in Coastguard New Zealand for 30 years. He is on the board of the International Marine Rescue Federation and past president of Coastguard New Zealand.
As well as this he is heavily involved with his community as a volunteer at the Kariaotahi Surf Lifesaving Club and Waiuku Coastguard.
For over 50 years Dean he has been messing around on New Zealand waterways. Before he could even walk he joined his Dad fishing on the Manukau, spent his teens racing and cruising on keel boats. Before he knew it, he was taking own his kids out fishing and when they became teens, he found himself at their Surf Lifesaving Club, as an IRB Patrol instructor. All the while running his own construction business.
In 2000, he determined to make his passion his career and hung up his builder’s apron for good to take up the position of Operations Manager for the Coastguard Northern Region becoming CEO in 2006.
In 2011 he took up the coveted job of CEO at the Spirit of Adventure Trust and in his words moved from “saving lives to shaping lives.”
Dean is strongly of the belief of the need to build the mindset of personal responsibility to be safe around the water; he has seen this work best in action on board the Trust’s Tall Ship, the Spirit of New Zealand where he witnesses teens suddenly becoming aware of their own safety as well as that of their fellow crew members.
While not all NZ teens are able to get a berth on the Spirit of New Zealand, Dean believes this form of osmosis can occur when they are encouraged to join or take part in organisations that actively involved in water safety (Coastguard, water scout, swimming clubs, etc.).
“The brilliant thing about these groups is that the young folk will have fun, make friends while developing a lifelong respect for our waterways.”