In a strong show of collaboration, Water Safety New Zealand and Swimming New Zealand have partnered with The Warehouse to get behind water safety education for children in New Zealand.
Jonty Mills, Chief Executive of Water Safety NZ says it’s a natural fit to partner with The Warehouse. “They’re an iconic Kiwi brand with a long history of supporting the community and a focus on supporting young people and families, so they’re an ideal match for us.”
Mills says there has been a decline in aquatic education through the school system, and some kids also miss out due to things like cost, access and transport. “Unfortunately this means kids who are most at risk often miss out.”
“Through this partnership with The Warehouse we’ll be able to reach more vulnerable kids and grow the programme. More and more kids are coming out of the education system without foundational water safety skills, and there is an unquestionable correlation between lack of water safety competence and long-term drowning prevention,” he said.
The partnership will support Water Skills for Life, WSNZ’s national standard for aquatic education for five to thirteen-year olds. The programme is delivered through Swimming NZ and community partners such as schools, local councils and regional sports trusts.
The programme was developed off the back of international research, best practice and water safety sector expertise, and currently reaches around 200,000 Kiwi kids. Mills said they had an aspiration to reach every five to thirteen-year-old in the country.
“That goal is now a lot closer thanks to the support of The Warehouse.”
The Warehouse CEO Pejman Okhovat says there were 78 preventable fatal drownings in New Zealand last year, and the country is at the upper end of drowning death rates in the developed world.
“It’s heart-breaking especially when these tragic deaths are preventable. One of the great things about living in New Zealand is our proximity to the coast and our relationship to and enjoyment of the water, but we need to do better in teaching our kids how to stay safe.”
Swimming NZ CEO Steve Johns said the programme goes to the heart of drowning prevention. “It educates children on the assessment of risk, awareness of dangers and equips them with the skills and competencies to be able to act in potential drowning situations.”
The partnership between The Warehouse and Water Safety New Zealand will run for two years. The Warehouse will be accepting donations for Water Skills for Life in store from Wednesday 29 November to Wednesday 20 December.