Youth – Wai TūramaWai Turama Manurewa Marae April 2014 PG (13)

Pacific Island and Maori populations have been traditionally involved in water activities however many of them now lack the current skill set required to allow them to participate in these activities with confidence and in safety. It is essential to equip the youth in particular with these skills, as it is hoped that they will act as role models to their communities to ensure that there is a culture of safety when participating in future sport and recreation activities based around water.

Wai Tūrama is a modified version of Wai Wise which aims to give Maori and Pacific youth practical knowledge and skills to keep them, their whānau and communities safer when in, on and around the aquatic environment. It is also about introducing opportunities to engage with different aquatic activities that the youth may not have previously experienced. Wai Tūrama offers sports and church/youth groups the opportunity to engage with the water in a practical but safe environment, and learn personal skills that may assist them in the future when pursing aquatic activity – these skills can and do save lives.

In its first year (2013-2014) 64 youth from Manurewa Marae, Massey Congregational Church of Samoa, Athens Education Centre and Ikale Tongan Rugby League Tag Football have participated in Wai Tūrama, with programme costs funded by New Zealand Community Trust.  

Wai Tūrama is modified to suit participants’ needs however the core components include two pool and one classroom sessions, followed by a beach day hosted by a surf life saving club. This provides the opportunity to transfer the skills learned in the pool and classroom to the outdoor environment. Participants are also introduced to an aquatic activity, matched with the group, such as waka ama; paddle boarding, kayaking, and given the opportunity to take on a future leadership role helping to facilitate Wai Tūrama. Key outcomes from year one include:

  • 91% of participants reported a significant increase in confidence when in an aquatic environment; 
  • All reported an increase in their practical knowledge of water safety and survival skills; beach safety and rip identification; boating and fishing safety; and correct use of lifejackets;
  • All could name or describe a technique that they had been to help someone  in the water, without putting themselves at risk:  Rope throw; throwing a flotation device (empty bottle); angel rings; 
  • All could identify the HELP or Huddle survival position when using a lifejacket; 
  • Participants reported that they enjoyed the aquatic activity sessions that they were able to try; with some youth indicating interest for future participation; and
  • Two Maori Rangitahi from Manurewa Marae who participated in Wai Wise at the beginning of the year helped facilitate the Wai Tūrama programme for their whānau.

To find out more about how Wai Tūrama could benefit your group and community email Aquatic Educator Harry Aonga.