Splashing for fun? Or for your life?

Te pōhutuhutu - he ngahau, he ora rānei?
13 January 2020
3 minute read

We’re born to love water. We swim in it, surf, and gather kai from it. We also drown in it. The best way to enjoy our water is knowing how to be safe around it.


Anyone who grows up in Aotearoa, or visits from overseas, is naturally drawn to our bodies of water. Whether it's our beaches, our lakes or our rivers – we love being out in them. But we know that in water things can change when you least expect it.

And if things do go wrong, we're there for you. Last year, we helped 36,515 people recover from water-related injuries. That's just over 100 a day.

However, we want to reduce this number by preventing accidents from happening in the first place. Through our partnership with Water Safety New Zealand, we're helping 200,000 tamariki learn water survival skills each year. A positive early experience around water gives children a lifetime of enjoyment in the wet stuff.


Do you feel safe around water?

Agree with your thinking

Kids happy and smiling after being in the water

Working with partners to keep you safe in water

Alongside our involvement with Water Skills for Life, we're involved in a range of other initiatives to keep you safe in the water. Here are some of the ways we help:

Kia Maanu Kia Ora

Kia Maanu Kia Ora is our newest water safety partner initiative. It's a kaupapa Māori water safety programme run by Māori for Māori.

Swim Reaper

The Swim Reaper campaign is designed and run by Water Safety New Zealand with funding from us. It aims to make young people stop and think before they make bad decisions with potentially deadly consequences. Most drownings are preventable and Swim Reaper is designed to try and bring that number down by targeting the most at risk groups.

We helped

36,515
people recover from water related injuries last year.

There were

392
non-fatal drowning-related injuries in 2018.

We helped

200,000
kids learn life-long water survival skills last year.

Tips to prevent injuries around water

We want everyone to have fun in the sun and enjoy their time in and around moana this summer. To stay safe in the water, it's best to slow down, take your time and assess any risks.

Here's our top tips to ensure your holidays are full of laughter and splashing this summer:

  • if you don't know how to swim or you're feeling unsure in the water, take a lesson
  • discuss water safety as a family ahead of the holidays
  • if you're going on holiday with small children, check properties for water hazards and make sure pool gates and latches are in good working order
  • make sure children are constantly supervised by an adult when they're swimming
  • always choose a lifeguarded beach and swim between the flags. Encourage adults to keep children within arm's reach as beaches and surf are ever-changing
  • use life jackets for everyone, not just kids, if you’re in a boat.

Planning to pop a manu from height?

If you're planning to nail that perfect 'v-bomb', there are some tips on how to jump safely:

  • look before jumping and check for depth and obstacles
  • don't jump onto others
  • don't jump at the same time as your mates
  • adults - when it comes to looking out for tamariki, supervision should be constant and active, ideally by having someone in the water.

If you're looking for more specific water safety information, these are great places to start:

How to keep babies and toddlers safe around water

Water skills for life - Swimming lessons for kids

Boat safety - Staying safe on the water

Kia Maanu Kia Ora - Kaupapa Māori water safety programme

Staying safe at the beach this summer

Find out more on how we help with prevention, care, and recovery

More information about how we can help if you're injured because of an accident

Find out how we can help if you're injured because of an accident: 

What to do if you’re injured

Types of injuries we cover

Different ways we can support you

Getting help with a claim 

Did you find this information helpful?