Story of Sumner's lifeboat set to view

18:31, Jul 14 2014
Sumner lifeboat
THE BOAT: Designer Paul Lawson and documentary maker Nicolas Pegg. 

After seven years of hard work and fundraising, a Christchurch-made documentary about the Sumner Lifeboat is set to air.

Nicolas Pegg, from Prologue production company, was asked about 10 years ago to film a short fundraising reel for the lifeboat.

The initial project soon snowballed and years later, Pegg's hour-long documentary is finally finished.

"It became obvious to us that we could shoot a documentary over time but we didn't know just how long it would take," Pegg says.

The Sumner Lifeboat is for open water rescue and is separate to the surf lifesaving team on the shoreline.

The volunteer-run organisation has been operating since 1898.


It is responsible for saving lives beyond the shoreline and considered an essential rescue service.

The original lifeboat was 35 years old when it needed to be replaced. Originally donated by the Lyttelton Port Company, the boat is still serving as a pilot boat in the port, but was no match for continued high-speed missions into open water.

Unable to find exactly what they wanted in a replacement boat, Sumner Lifeboat spent more than $800,000 designing and building a new one - the Sumner Class.

The new boat is perfect for a quick shoreline launch and can do speeds of more than 40 knots, making for an efficient rescue boat which can work alongside helicopters.

Pegg's documentary, Sumner Class - A Lifeboat Story, records the history of the lifeboat, the battle for the new one and the people who make it all happen.

"It's as much about a community as it is about the lifeboat," Pegg says.

The documentary even captures committed volunteer crew member Shawn Lucas, who was killed in the February 2011 earthquakes. It includes rescue footage, training, the design and build of the new boat and its sea trials.

■ Sumner Class - A Lifeboat Story airs on CTV on Saturday at 8pm. For more information on the lifeboat, visit

The Press