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Our Board

The Water Safety New Zealand board comprises eight passionate and highly skilled trustees. An interest in the outdoors, sport, recreation, water safety, education and health feature predominantly and supplements their business and governance experience.

Kate Wareham - Chair

Kate is the Deputy Chief Executive, Organisational Services & Capability at the Department of Internal Affairs. She has broad experience in a range of governance roles with a particular focus on change leadership, public policy/regulation and large scale service delivery.

Kate is keenly aware of the need to influence water awareness and safety practices in NZ given the tragic fatality statistics and the significant impact this has on families throughout the country.

She maintains an active interest personally in water sports - including as an open water swimmer competing each season and played water polo as a young adult. These experiences have shaped her views around supporting children into water sports and related activities at an early age to help build lifelong skills and confidence.



James Helmore – Independent director


Dr. Anne-Marie Jackson – Independent director

Tribal Affiliations: Ngāti Whātua, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Wai, Ngāti Kahu o Whangaroa.

Anne-Marie is a Māori academic in physical education and health and serves Māori organisations and communities in governance and advisory roles. She is co-Director of a new national Centre of Research Excellence Coastal People: Southern Skies. She also co-leads Te Koronga, a world recognised Māori research and teaching excellence kaupapa.

Anne-Marie is a passionate water safety practitioner across the spheres of Māori water safety research centred within a Māori worldview, Te Tiriti and Kaupapa Māori for flourishing wellness.

Tangaroa Ara Rau is a collective of Māori researchers, organisations and communities who are committed to Māori approaches of water safety and Anne-Marie has been a contributing leader and member since 2015. 


Kira Schaffler – General Member director

Kira is an Organisational Change Consultant responsible for leading and implementing transformational change projects. Kira's experience spans both the not-for-profit and corporate sectors. Previously Kira spent nine years at Fonterra in a variety of senior leadership roles predominantly in People & Culture and project management. Kira has extensive governance experience, as a Board member and as an executive interacting with and advising Boards.




 – General Member director


Michael Bassett-Foss – Surf Life Saving New Zealand delegate

Michael has a rich background and active experience across many facets of water safety and within the sector.

These include Surf Life Saving New Zealand, swimming, kayaking, canoe, multi-sport and the Drowning Prevention Commission of the International Life Saving Federation.

Michael brings together commercial and local and regional government experience which supports the collective impact model Water Safety New Zealand works within in bringing sector partners together.



Peter Kara – Coastguard New Zealand delegate


Anna Tootill – Swimming New Zealand delegate



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