A partnership between Water Safety New Zealand and ACC will invest $1 million into Kaupapa Māori water safety over the next two years.
Drowning of Māori in Aotearoa is a significant issue and presents risk for all whanau, WSNZ says.
Māori are overrepresented in New Zealand’s annual drowning statistics. On average Māori account for over 20 percent of all preventable and non-preventable drowning fatalities, despite comprising only 15 percent of the nation’s population.
ACC alongside WSNZ recognizes the need to collectively address the issues with the refresh of the Kia Maanu Kia Ora kaupapa to ‘be safe around water’.
A hui is being held in Manukau to acknowledge the progress made and to look to the future of Māori water safety.
WSNZ CEO Jonty Mills says a new approach was needed to tackle the overrepresentation of Māori in our drowning statistics.
“We need to improve water safety outcomes for Māori and there’s a real need for culturally appropriate interventions created and delivered by Māori for Māori.”
This new funded programme acknowledges the connections Māori have with the sea and landscape waterways. It is central to Māori identity, as a life-giving force for sustenance, health and wellbeing. Wai is considered a taonga with physical and spiritual properties attached to it.
Kia Maanu Kia Ora kaupapa embodies these connections to wai so that the Māori worldview of the physical and spiritual properties of wai are integral to water safety. It acknowledges that water safety is not merely about teaching water safety skills, but must start with a deeper understanding and respect for wai that is natural for Māori. This new approach has the potential to lead to more purposeful drowning prevention for all New Zealanders.
Monitoring and evaluation of Kia Maanu Kia Ora will be ongoing over the duration of the programme providing valuable insights into drowning prevention strategies from an education and instructional perspective across the age groups and water based activities.
One of the programmes being funded are the Ruatahuna Tuhoe ‘Water Skills for Life’ and river crossings programme in Bay of Plenty.
SplashSave are creating a refreshed pack for under-fives whanau led aquatic education alongside WSNZ Māori advisors with Te Ao Māori principles and learning theories at its heart.
This will be produced in both English and Te Reo with a view of establishing a distribution and engagement strategy in partnership with Te Kōhanga Reo networks.
The goal is for whanau and teachers to understand the importance of water safety, active adult supervision of children around water and the developing of confidence around water.