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Innovation and Research

Water Safety New Zealand works with researchers whose projects support specific policy initiatives and programmes to improve drowning prevention practices. 

In 2017/18, research is being conducted into child water safety knowledge and skills. Conducted by Associate Professor Chris Button of Otago University this study indicates New Zealand children lack the basic knowledge to save themselves in the water. Further work is being conducted by Associate Professor Chris Button and his colleagues, into the importance of child learning water safety in natural environments, so they can relate pool training to real life situations.

In 2016/17 Mitchell Purvis was awarded a University of Otago internship, funded through a Water Safety New Zealand investment grant, to help create a strategic research approach to Maori water safety and drowning prevention. With assistance from supervisor Dr Anne Marie Jackson, Tuia Te Here Tāngata: Sewing together the Maori water safety sector, is the result. Mitchell’s journey involved networking at the Te Koronga: Indigenous Science Wananga, writing a research paper on young Maori males’ understandings and experiences of Maori water safety, and attending hui with other Maori water safety sector stakeholders. 


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