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Purpose and Vision


We are an island nation with some of the most magnificent waterways in the world. Our ocean, coasts, beaches, lakes and rivers help define us and reflect the people we have become. Water is life and in New Zealand, it’s our way of life. Experiences in, on or around the water are part of what we do and what makes us Kiwi. But sadly drownings and non-fatal drowning incidents are all too common. 

Our Purpose

To lead a step change in New Zealand so people don’t drown.

Our Vision

By 2025 more people in New Zealand respect the water and have the skills, knowledge and awareness to enjoy it safely.

Our Values


To make a difference we need to be exceptional. We punch above our weight and keep striving to be better. We face a complex problem and are problem solvers. We aim high and look to continuously improve.


We have one cause and don’t get distracted. We only do things that demonstrably increase safety in, on and around the water. We prioritise with the big picture at the heart of all our decision making and activity. We lead with trusted authority. 


We take risks, try different things and keep learning because things will always change. We take creative measures based on evidence to make bold decisions. We keep things fresh and engaging and we seek to grow the capability of our members and partners.


We are story tellers. We encourage, reinforce, stay forward looking and specify our messages in ways that draw people towards us and what we have to say. If we challenge, we do so positively. We’re an optimistic group tackling a tough challenge.


We’re in the caring business. We care about people and their prospects. So a generous and curious disposition is vital. We won’t judge. It’s also crucial to our team dynamic, we work under pressure and need to be supportive of each other.

Water Safety New Zealand Strategic Plan 2018-2025

Through our work:

  • More people will influence others to have safe experiences in, on or around water.
  • More people will come to respect the power of water and know their own ability to manage theirs and other’s water experiences
  • More babies, toddlers and preschoolers will be nurtured around water by the people they trust
  • More school-age children will learn water skills for life
  • More young people will be exposed to water skills and pathways to water sports, volunteering and work experiences around water
  • More new New Zealanders and visitors to Aotearoa, New Zealand, will adopt the Kiwi culture of being respectful of the water, the conditions and be water-wise. 

Our work contributes to a thriving society for individuals, families and communities.

Water Safety New Zealand provides leadership, advocacy, policy development and funding to the water safety sector.

We are an association of members in the water safety sector with an elected board and recruited management and administration team. It is an incorporated society, with charitable status. The majority of our funding is received from the Lotteries Grants Board via Sport New Zealand for distribution to water safety providers through an annual grants round. Water Safety New Zealand itself is funded by Sport New Zealand while ACC, businesses, trusts, foundations and individuals support specific initiatives and programmes.

Donations made to Water Safety New Zealand receive tax credits and our Charities Services registration number is CC33799. 

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