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Water Safety New Zealand’s (WSNZ) annual funding round is now open to applications following the release of New Zealand Water Safety Sector Strategy 2025: Wai Ora Aotearoa.

WSNZ is looking to invest in partnerships that deliver drowning prevention interventions in line with the objectives of the strategy and make a difference to New Zealand’s high drowning toll.

Drowning is the leading cause of recreational death and the third highest cause of accidental death in New Zealand. In 2020 there were 76 preventable* drowning fatalities following the 82 in 2019. The 2016 – 2020 five year average is 80 preventable fatalities. ACC spends more than $72 million a year on water-related injuries.

Traditionally, most of the sector partnership funding allocated by WSNZ has been provided via New Zealand Lottery Grants Board (through Sport NZ) and ACC.

“A closer relationship between WSNZ and ACC is key to tackling our high rates of drowning fatalities and injuries in Aotearoa/New Zealand,” says interim CEO Paul Verić. “ACC supports the efforts of the sector by its investment in WSNZ’s leadership and co-ordination of sector activities and as principal partner for Water Skills for Life.”

As the water safety sector’s leadership organisation, WSNZ seeks to ensure the objectives contained in Wai ora Aotearoa are delivered by ensuring funding is allocated to key priorities.

“WSNZ’s key tool for this is its annual funding programme,” says Verić. “WSNZ has identified key funding priorities for 2021/22 to which it will direct investment. These ensure our investments are focused on the sector’s highest priority objectives and support the development of our funded partners’ capability,” says Verić.
Key also to achieving effective outcomes is monitoring and evaluation. Applicants to the WSNZ funding round are required to monitor and report on performance measures to assess the effectiveness of the project and the achievement of outcomes. “It’s critical we can see our investment is having an impact,” says Verić.

Each application must align with the following funding priorities to ensure that they meet the vision of Wai Ora Aotearoa that ‘everyone connects to and enjoys the water safely'.

The priorities for 2021/2022 are:

  1. Under-Fives  
  2. Water Skills for Life 
  3. Māori water safety education 
  4. Reducing male drowning and improve decision making in 15-34 age range
  5. Programmes and tools to raise awareness of the difference between perceived and real competencies


More detail can be found in the Funding Round prospectus which is on the ‘Get Funded’ page on the WSNZ website where you will also find the application form and FAQs.

The 2021/22 funding round will close at 11.59 pm Monday 24 May.

*Preventable fatalities are those where water safety sector intervention could have had an influence (for example where the victim was boating, swimming, diving) while non-preventable include events such as suicides, homicides and vehicle accidents (where water safety education and activity would not have prevented the death). (WSNZ)


The WSNZ 2021/2022 funding round is now open

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