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The preventable drowning of an international student at Tauranga's Omanawa Falls has highlighted how New Zealand’s natural beauty can mask the danger that exists in our great outdoors.

The death of 27 year old Kishore Kumar Aravindan is the 30th preventable drowning in New Zealand for 2018. “First and foremost I would like to offer my condolences to the Aravindan family. Every preventable drowning is a terrible tragedy for a family and a community” says Water Safety New Zealand (WSNZ) CEO Jonty Mills.

“This tragedy highlights how our waterways can appear tranquil, but contain hidden dangers. We advise everyone to remember the Water Safety Code. Be prepared, watch out for yourself and others, be aware of the dangers and know your limits.”

WSNZ is currently supporting work on a water safety strategy for Bay of Plenty to promote a community led, locally focused effort to reduce (and eventually eliminate) preventable drowning incidents.

“We want to engage with communities and identify what needs to be addressed at all levels in Bay of Plenty. Actions to support individuals, help whanau support and protect each other, and identify what public infrastructure might be needed to reduce the number of preventable drownings.” says Jonty Mills.

There were 12 preventable drowning fatalities in Bay of Plenty in 2017 out of the national toll of 88. In 2018 so far there have been 6.

Mountain Safety Council CEO Mike Daisley is keen to remind people day walkers heading into the outdoors to plan their trips carefully. 

"It's critical that folks heading into the outdoors, even for a short day trips like this one, to plan their trip with the Outdoor Safety Code in mind.  That includes thinking about how would help find you if something did go wrong? An ‘unexpected night out’ can happen very easily." 

"If someone in your group suffers an injury, or you take a wrong turn at a junction or lose the track altogether time can slip away and you might be out overnight." 

"Even if you’re only a few hundred meters from the car park it can feel like the middle of nowhere in the dark. If you’ve left your trip plan and intentions - especially when you’re due back - with a trusted contact they can raise the alarm if you’re not back in time"

For WSNZ media enquiries call Ben Christie on 021770285

For MSC media enquiries call Nick Kingstone on 0211902930


New Zealand has one of the highest fatal drowning rates in the OECD. In 2017 there were 92 preventable deaths, all entirely preventable. Each one leaves families and communities devastated.

Our drowning toll is something every New Zealander should see as a national disgrace and one we all have a responsibility to address.

How you can support water safety

Water safety effects all of us. Sadly there are too many incidents of people getting into trouble in the water. If you have a story you'd like to share, we'd like to hear about it. We are continually learning and your story may help others. 

The gift of your time to support water safety can be made in various ways. We work with our sector partners, Surf Life Saving New Zealand, Coastguard New Zealand, Swimming New Zealand and other water safety agencies. 

Your donation can help children learn vital water safety skills in your community. This can be delivered directly to your nominated school to help cover the cost of water safety lessons or help a school keep their school pool operating.

We can help you raise money for your school through our Aloe Up Sunscreen fundraiser. You raise funds to help cover the cost of water safety lessons or help keep your school pool operating, AND for every sunscreen sold, we also donate funds to your project.

Join our partners in creating social change around New Zealand's water safety culture. Help us make a difference when you support our programmes with cash and/or inkind support. Or have a water safety programme you'd like us to consider ring Sheridan on 04 801 9600.

This is one of the easiest methods of giving to water safety. Your employer will deduct your regular donation every pay day and you receive immediate tax credits that reduce your PAYE payable. You don't need to wait until the end of the year to claim your tax credit. 



Safety agencies urge day trippers to be prepared

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