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Water Safety New Zealand is pleased to announce it is investing $2,015,800 into the community for drowning prevention programmes. View the recipient organisations here. 

Water Safety New Zealand funds water safety providers through its annual funding round for groups to run initiatives in their communities to reduce drowning deaths and injuries.

Investment has been made into partnerships that deliver water safety interventions that make a real tangible difference to New Zealand's high drowning toll and to lives that are put at risk from everyday hazards in all forms of water.

To be eligible for funding, water safety projects align with the following goals and demonstrate clear impacts and organisational capability to deliver programmes effectively.

The goals are:

  • That everyone has the opportunity to develop water safety and survival skills in a supportive environment to prevent drowning deaths and injuries.
  • That New Zealand communities and organisations take the lead to promote the safe enjoyment of their local waterways.
  • Projects that focus on at-risk groups leading to an improvement of their knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours in order for them to take personal responsibility for their own water safety.
  • Parents encouraged and supported to improve their knowledge, attitudes and behaviour to take personal responsibility for supervising pre-school children around water to prevent child drownings and injuries, and
  • That the social and economic costs to New Zealand from preventable drowning and injury are minimised through interventions in the community.


Water Safety New Zealand recently launched the New Zealand Water Safety Sector Strategy 2025 (Wai Ora Aoteraroa) which details the roles and responsibilities everyone has to work collectively to instil respect for the water, and encourage safe behaviours/tikanga by all people in Aotearoa New Zealand so that drowning fatalities and injuries are reduced.

NZ Water Safety Sector Strategy 2025


Here is the 2021/22 Prospectus for the funding round which opened on 12 April at 4pm and closed 24 May at 11.59pm. 

Funding Prospectus 2021-22

Questions and answers

What are Water Safety New Zealand's funding priorities? 

Each application must align with the following funding priorities to ensure that they meet the vision of the New Zealand Water Safety Sector Strategy 2025 and its vision that 'everyone connects to and enjoys the water safely'. The priorities are:

1. Under-Fives 
Expanding existing initiatives and developing effective campaigns to improve the knowledge/mātauranga, attitudes/whakapapa and behaviours/tikanga of parents and caregivers.

2. Water Skills for Life

Embedding programmes into environment, aquatic activities, and sports related practices, to make water safety skills training fundamental to ‘real life’ experiences and to influence a culture change around water.

3. Māori water safety education

Programmes that reflect Māori values and aspirations and strengthen the connection to wai/water.

4. Reducing male drowning and improve decision making in the 15-34 age range

5. Programmes and tools that raise awareness of the difference between perceived and real competencies

What do we fund?

Drowning prevention initiatives such as water safety education and skills training, social marketing and/or information campaigns.

What don’t we fund?

Water Safety New Zealand does not fund:

  • Search and Rescue. Funding for this may be available through the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board Outdoor Safety Committee.
  • Costs arising from changes to government policies, regulations or legislation.
  • Core rescue capability.
  • Research.
  • Capital expenses such as pool maintenance and development.
  • Professional development for organisations or individuals.
  • Clubs if they are affiliated to a national organisation.
  • Schools.

In general, applications for capital expenditure, debt repayments and organisations' day to day operational/running costs are unlikely to be funded.

What is the most important part of the application?

Providing the Evidence and Benefits of your initiative.
Applications must state why there is a need to undertake this project, and demonstrate that it will address a particular drowning problem/s.
Benefits: How will this project meet the funding goals and priorities outlined in the Water Safety New Zealand Funding Prospectus 21/22 (above), and how will it improve water safety? Who, and how many people, will receive those benefits?
Evidence: How do you know your project will deliver these benefits?  How do you record the changes your project has made to its audience (prove how successful the initiative was)?

Can two or more organisations jointly apply for funding?

Collaboration and partnership-based applications are particularly welcome. These should identify one responsible lead organisation for application and accountability purposes.

What if I need help submitting my online grant application?

If you need help submitting your online application, email and we will be able to help you through the process. 

When should applications be submitted?

Applications open Monday, 12 April at 4pm and close Monday, 24 May at 11.59pm.  Submit your application between these dates. Remember you can start your application and save it and come back to it over the period until you're happy with it. No late applications will be accepted.

If my application is successful, at what point can we begin spending grant money

You must wait until your grant application has been approved before paying for goods or services. This includes using the grant to pay deposits for goods and services bought before your grant was approved.

When do we have to have spent the money by?

In most cases, contracts are for 12 months with money spent by 30 June 2022.

Do we need to account for funds received?

Yes, you will need to fill out two accountability reports over the period (approximately 12 months). The templates will be provided.

First accountability report is due early February, 2022 - the six month report.
This Accountability Report will cover what was delivered, Its results and grant expenditure up to 31 December 2021.

Second and final accountability report is due July 2022 - the year end report. 
This final Accountability Report covers what was delivered, its results and grant expenditure for the full period up to 30 June 2022.

What do we need to do if our grant is approved?

After being notified that your application was successful, we will send you a contract to sign. These will be sent in mid to late August 2021.

Who considers my application?

An internal committee at Water Safety New Zealand will review each application, consulting sector experts if appropriate and when necessary.

How will we know if our application has been successful?

Water Safety New Zealand will notify you by email early August 2021.

How long will it take for a decision?

Applications close on Monday 24th May at 11.59pm.  Review period is approximately eight to ten weeks with applicants notified in August 2021.

How is payment made?

Payment will be made on receipt of invoice via bank direct credit, split into two payments over the 12 month period. One when the contract is signed and the final payment will be made in February 2022.

Do we have to acknowledge Water Safety New Zealand’s support?

Yes, we expect that you will acknowledge Water Safety New Zealand's support wherever possible, through your programme delivery, collateral, in the media and on your website.

Where can we find Water Safety New Zealand logos and branding for acknowledgement?
Where does the money come from?

Water Safety New Zealand receives funding from NZ Lotteries Grants via Sport New Zealand, ACC and funding from Corporates, Trusts and Foundations.


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