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Water Safety New Zealand (WSNZ) has announced the recipients of its 2021/2022 annual contestable funding round, investing over $2.0 million in community drowning prevention programmes.

WSNZ’s Chief Executive, Daniel Gerrard, says: “Too many New Zealanders continue to lose their lives from drowning. We have a high drowning rate compared to Australia, with drowning in New Zealand being the leading cause of recreational death and the second highest cause of death by unintentional injury for 1 to 24 year olds.

“This year, we have been able to fund 35 community organisations throughout the country, from Northland to Southland, whose water safety initiatives will make a real difference in improving knowledge, attitudes and behaviour around water and help keep people safe.”

WSNZ’s annual contestable funding round is funded primarily by the New Zealand Lotteries Grants Board and ACC. ACC has partnered with WSNZ on the nationwide primary school aquatic education programme, Water Skills for Life, and corporate partner Protector Aluminium (pool fence specialists) supports WSNZ’s Under Fives initiatives.

The investment of $2 million has been allocated to the following priority areas:

  • The ongoing implementation of Water Skills for Life for 5 to 13-year-olds
  • Funding to reduce the comparatively high rate of Under-Fives drowning incidents, and
  • Water safety programmes targeting priority activities and groups, including Māori.

“These priorities are aligned with and driven by the Wai ora Aotearoa: Water Safety Strategy 2025 to reduce drowning fatalities and drowning-related hospitalisations by working collaboratively with the wider water safety community,” Daniel Gerrard said.

ACC supports Water Skills for Life, recognising both the value this programme has in reducing drowning and the social and economic costs of drowning in Aotearoa New Zealand. This programme is linked to the national education curriculum and gives children the skills and knowledge required to assess risk and make good decisions around water. The programme is delivered through primary schools and swim schools and recipients of funding including regional sports trusts, councils, water safety trusts and some private operators.

A list of organisations, and the programmes for which they received funding, can be found here:

Daniel Gerrard said, “WSNZ appreciates the support and funding provided by the New Zealand Lotteries Grants Board, ACC, Sport New Zealand, and our corporate partner Protector Aluminium, in helping us work with community organisations to reduce Aotearoa New Zealand’s drowning toll.”

$2million invested in community drowning prevention programmes

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