Māori Water Safety

Māori Water Safety

Kia rangona te kupu, ka mārama ai nga tikanga, kā ora ai te iwi. To learn, you must understand the purpose in order for it to prosper.

While Maori account for approximately 15 per cent of New Zealand’s population, they account for a significant proportion (per capita) of New Zealand’s drowning toll. DrownBase™ reports that in 2016, 17 (21%) of the 81 preventable drowning deaths were Maori.

This has been fairly consistent over the past five years (2012-2016) during which Maori accounted for 23 per cent (78) on average of preventable drownings and 10 per cent (9) of the Auckland regional toll (91) (DrownBase™. WSNZ). Maori are most at risk being while participating in water-based activities, such as collecting kaimoana, boating, fishing and swimming. Men aged 15-44 years are most at risk, as a result of the tendency to overestimate their ability and underestimate the dangers.

The need for Māori focused water safety education intervention is also evidenced socially and environmentally. Socially Auckland Māori are urban, not necessarily linked to their hapu, iwi or tribe and most of our Auckland Marae are pan-Māori. Environmentally there is a growing involvement with traditional areas such as waka sports. In this area, a disconnect has been noted from traditional safety strategies.

Alarming for Māori is that:

  • Māori representation in the drowning statistics is increasing, despite the fact that New Zealand’s drowning toll is decreasing overall.
  • Mahi wai (recreational water activities) are the single biggest cause of drowning for Māori men.
  • Kohi kai moana is the second leading cause of drowning for Māori men.
  • Māori children account for 44% of all children under 5 years of age who drown.
  • Nearly half (46%) of Māori children who drown do so while swimming.
  • 95% (nearly all) Māori babies who drown, do so because they were not adequately supervised.

Contact Aquatic Educator Clayton Wikaira to discuss how we can work together to enable your whānau and community to become safer in, on and around water. Ask him about the free kai gathering workshops.

Programme Contact

Aquatic Educator Clayton Wikaira
Email: Clayton.Wikaira@dpanz.org.nz