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It was a sunny Saturday afternoon and the newly formed Lyall Bay Surf Life Saving Club was preparing for a display of practical lifesaving for the Wellington City mayor and councillors. All was going well until, a minute before the big demo, a whopping great argument broke out.

Team Captain, Ted Levy decided to reshuffle team members. "Now look here Neal", said Levy to first line George Neal. "I'm the captain and I don't want to swim belt today, I want to be with the reel on the beach."

Huge surf rolled into the bay as the team hotly debated the new arrangements with hundreds of spectators standing on the beach, watching on.

"But Teddy", replied Neal. "Those waves are ginormous and I'll be murdered out there."

"I say Neal, look here. Button that jib and tie that belt or I'll give you a damn good thrashing", replied Levy.

Levy was out of control. Re-arranging the team would not only put his men in danger, but it may also hinder the success of the demonstration. Neal again pleaded to go with the status quo, but Levy would have none of it. "I say Neal, don't you know who I am? I'm the captain, don't you know, and I want to be with the reel up on the beach with the women and children. Now you go on and climb into that big belt or be gone forever."

So Neal left, took several others with him, and legged it 100 yards down the beach where he founded Maranui SLSC several months later in 1911.

Ok, so maybe that's not quite verbatim, but you get the general idea. Now there are two surf lifesaving clubs on Lyall Bay beach, both have an amicable appreciation of one another and they combine most effectively to keep the beach safe.

Maranui has a long and illustrious history that includes many national, provincial and local titles. Its members have swum the Cook Strait, won national swimming and waterpolo titles and its men's boat crew was even named Wellington Sports Team of the Year in 2000. That's a huge achievement, considering Wellington boasts several All Blacks including Jonah Lomu.

This time line serves as a memory peg for the numerous Maranui men, women and kin scattered throughout New Zealand and the world. We owe a lot to the names listed below because, not only did they save lives at the beach, but many served in the great wars of Europe and the Pacific. They filled Maranui's proud history so that we may fill the future. If we have missed anything out please let us know about it.


The club was formed on October 3, 1911 at a public meeting at Smith's Tearooms on Onepu Road. At the close of the meeting Maranui had 96 founding members.


G Morgan set a record in hours patrolled in one season, which will probably stand for all-time at 214.75.

Maranui had successfully saved many lives on Wellington's most crowded beach but now they would be fighting for their own on the battlefields of Europe and Galipolli. By December 1914, 21 known Maranui members were in active service. In all, nine gallant Maranui men paid the supreme sacrifice during the Great War. 

Extreme pressure was applied by the City Council for the two Lyall Bay clubs to amalgamate. The first of many coups by young and active members took place at a special general meeting and Maranui ceased to become the bathing club, which it threatened to be and swung into full active competition.

Also in that year, P. Edwards won the Turner Medal (100 yard run, 100 yard swim, 33 1/3 yard tow and boxing). Club membership 150.

1910s  •  1920s  •  1930s  •  1940s  •  1950s  •  1960s

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