Teaching Aquatics – Are You Up To Speed?

Teaching Aquatics – Are You Up To Speed?

A professional learning opportunity for ALL aquatic education teachers in primary and secondary schools. This one-day workshop will focus on current evidence-based practice in aquatic education and will include FREE in-school support.
Jumping into lake
If aquatic education is to be consistently offered in schools it is the classroom teacher who is best placed to provide this.
(Lynch, 2012)

Competencies developed through (swim) schools are not necessarily applied in a natural aquatic environment .
(Baker, 2019)

Teaching Aquatics

Are you up to speed?

Venue: NZ Marine Conference Room, 85 Westhaven Drive
Date: Wednesday, 29th September 2021
Time: 8.30am – 3.30pm
Cost: $50 + GST
(To contribute to costs including refreshments. This PLD is subsidised from various funding sources including Auckland rate payers).

All people are at risk of drowning, the problem is not so much that people are unable to swim or float, but they are unable to swim or float as well as they thought they could in open water.
(Stanley, 2021)

Course Outline

Developing our competence to teach aquatic education will be unpacked in 3 ways:

Exploring The Theory

  • Drowning prevention education is based on development of 15 competencies
  • Understanding the drowning problem
  • What are we doing now?
  • What could/should we be doing?

Pool (practical)

  • Personal competencies for drowning prevention.
  • Great activities for in the pool learning (yours and ours)

Open water environments (‘Dry’)

  • Ideas for developing 15 water competencies in open water
  • Safety management processes for teachers and students
In New Zealand, people of Maori and Pacific Islander ethnicity record higher drowning rates compared with the European population.
(Willcox-Pidgeon et al., 2019)

Swimming is learned indoors while drowning happens primarily outdoors .
(Stallman et al., 2008)

Watch the DPA Mid-Winter Forum Online

Watch the DPA Mid-Winter Forum Online

We’re pleased to be able to share with you the presentation that Teresa Stanley gave at our 2021 Mid-Winter Forum.

Perceived and Real Water Competency and Drowning Risk Among Adults in Open Water: A Wicked Problem

Teresa’s Powerpoint presentation contained a wealth of information and facts discovered during her doctoral research. Please feel free to download this resource.
Mid-Winter Forum Thursday 10 June 2021

Mid-Winter Forum Thursday 10 June 2021

Perceived and Real Water Competency and Drowning Risk Among Adults in Open Water: A Wicked Problem

Join us for our 2021 mid-Winter Form, where this year we are excited to share Teresa Stanley’s journey of research and the doctorate she has achieved. The findings of this thesis have implications for all drowning prevention education to keep people safe in open water.

Come along to hear about the far-reaching benefits we believe this has for the water safety sector. We look forward to sharing this with you.

Please RSVP to [email protected] by clicking the button below.

Drowning Prevention Model by Teresa Stanley

Thursday 10 June, 3pm – 5pm

Drowning Prevention Auckland
85 Westhaven Drive

New Lifejacket Hub – Bethells SLSC

New Lifejacket Hub – Bethells SLSC

Our latest lifejacket hub is now established in partnership with Bethells Surf Lifesaving Club.  This is in response to our Rock Fishing project and our knowledge that many fishers still do not wear life jackets.  One of the barriers to wearing lifejackets is the cost. The intention of the lifejacket hub is to give people access to lifejackets at no cost, or for a gold-coin donation if they wish.

We also have many other lifejacket hubs across Auckland where you can loan a lifejacket for yourself or group for up to two weeks at a time free of charge. Click to find a lifejacket hub close to you.

Many thanks to Maritime New Zealand whose funding enabled the establishment of these hubs.

Recently, two fishermen went fishing at 5am in the morning with no lifejackets and wearing unsuitable clothing. It was still dark outside and they used head torches to navigate around the rocks at South Piha, on Auckland’s West Coast. The surf conditions on this day were not suitable for fishing from the rocks, with 3m plus swells hitting the coastline and strong onshore winds generating further swell.  As they navigated the dark and large waves surging up against the rocks, one fisherman fell into the water and drowned, presumably due to the large surf conditions and lack of a lifejacket that could have otherwise provided flotation. The callout squad from SLSNR was notified just after 5am and a land-based only search was conducted as conditions were unsuitable for lifeguards to attempt an in-water search.

With compassion for the family, we would like to highlight that fisher drownings are preventable and can be avoided by following key safety messages;


Check Weather and Tides


Wear Suitable Clothing


Wear a Lifejacket

Drowning Prevention Auckland, Surf Life Saving Northern Region and Auckland Council are delivering their 15th year of the West Coast Rock Fishing project. This collaborative programme provides further education, awareness and workshops on Rock Fishing safety for our communities. Please contact Harry if you have a group interested to learn more: [email protected]

Engaging Newly Settled New Zealanders in Water Safety

Engaging Newly Settled New Zealanders in Water Safety

At the end of March one of our Aquatic Educators, Leilani Fuemana, presented at the Virtual Pre-Conference Global Injury Prevention Showcase for 2021. Drowning prevention was a key focus of the showcase.

Leilani talked to participants about Drowning Prevention Auckland’s work in ‘Engaging Newly Settled New Zealanders in Water Safety’. Leilani was one of four presenters who showcased in the drowning factors session. Other presenters represented: Surf Lifesaving Australia, Royal Life Saving Society and Water Safe New Zealand.

To engage with newly settled New Zealanders we use the three guiding principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi: Partnerships, Participation and Protection. Engaging newly settled New Zealanders in water safety is a high priority for us. We know that Tāmaki Makaurau is one of the world’s most culturally diverse cities with over a quarter of residents (28%) identifying with one or more Asian ethnic groups. The issue we face is that over a quarter (27%) of Tāmaki Makaurau’s preventable drownings from 2015-2019 identify as Asian or Other. 

Click below to watch Leilani as she shares about the ‘Gender Specific Water Competence Programme’ that was created for women that contributes to reducing this disparity while giving all woman an opportunity to learn how to become more water competent.

New Early Childhood e-Learning module

New Early Childhood e-Learning module

On the eve of a nationwide strategy being released to tackle the country’s drowning statistics, Drowning Prevention Auckland is seeking to highlight the dangers that tamariki can get into without raising an alarm.

The New Zealand Water Safety Sector Strategy 2025 will facilitate a coordinated effort between a number of agencies, including Drowning Prevention Auckland.

Under-fives are a key area of focus in the strategy, with official figures showing that twenty-four tamariki aged under-five have drowned in New Zealand in the past five years (from 2016 to 2020). And it’s not just swimming pools causing issues warns chief executive Nicola Keen-Biggelaar.

Mum supervising kids by paddling pool

“When our youngsters get into trouble in the water, it’s not often that they’re able to cry for help. The younger they are, the more likely they are unable to lift their head to keep their airways clear of water. The less comfortable or confident they are in the water, the more likely they are to panic.”

While half of those aged under five who drown do so in home pools, there is an emerging trend of drownings happening in other, often unexpected places – ponds, drains, creeks, even bathtubs.

“Water is particularly attractive to infants and pre-schoolers. As soon as they become mobile, they are able to access any water left in or around the home. Pēpi have drowned in is as little as four centimetres of water,” says Ms Keen-Biggelaar.

Early Childhood
e-learning module

To help parents and caregivers keep tamariki safe, the organisation has added a new training module to its eLearning programme. The training module reinforces the need to provide barriers in and around the home and ensure there is appropriate supervision, especially when outside.

Access the e-learning module

Click the button below to enter the e-learning module

More than three quarters (83 per cent) of those under five who have drowned in the past five years are male, a marked change from previous years when it has traditionally been a lot more even.

“We’re seeing young boys get into trouble more frequently – possibly the result of risk taking and over confidence. It’s really important that you keep a close eye on youngsters you’re in charge of, particularly if they have a tendency to get into mischief.”

Some tips from the module:

Creating Barriers Indoors

Shut bathroom and toilet doors, empty baths after use and store the plug out of reach.

Keep them safe around the home - outside

Empty paddling pools and water containers and store them out of reach, or on their side so they don’t fill up with rainwater.

Open Water Environments

When outside at picnics and get-togethers with family and friends, ensure there is always at least one designated adult supervisor, who undertakes a regular head count.

Supervision is key

Supervise with constant visual contact and proximity. Avoid distractions such as talking on, or looking at a phone.

Diving Safety at Waitangi

Diving Safety at Waitangi

Waitangi Diving wānanga participants

The Drowning Prevention Auckland team were lucky enough to spend a week in Northland for a Waitangi Water Safety promotion, alongside Water Safety New Zealand this February. The week was built around manaakitanga and rangatiratanga with a focus on educating whānau to be safe in, on and around water.

During this week the team delivered their first diving safety wānanga in Northland. They engaged with local hapū and iwi organisations as well as Ngā Puhi iwi social services to help promote the wānanga. Overall, there was a fantastic response from whānau that they were interested in learning about good diving practice. A good number of participants took part in the three session wānanga.

Whānau responded interested

Theory session participants

Practical pool session participants

Open water dive participants

Following the wānanga the team delivered a dive workshop to 30 kaihoe (paddlers) preparing for the Waitangi celebration. Stories were shared about how divers get into difficulty and how risk can be reduced through educating whānau on having the correct gear, using buoyancy aids, knowing your ability and fitness and being familiar with the area and environments. 

In addition, the team ran a two-day dive safety stall at the Waitangi grounds alongside Water Safety New Zealand. These two days were filled with many quality interactions, engaging with just over 280 people. The outcomes were outstanding in terms of educating whānau and hearing their voices and stories as they participated in the wānanga and discussions.

This week was a great opportunity for whanaungatanga and kaitiakitanga. Thank you to Water Safety New Zealand for giving us this opportunity, we hope to be back next year. 


When I was young I was taught old styles not having gear. Since doing this course and having all the correct gear its reignited that desire for me to start diving again and to teach my own whānau properly.


Doing this programme open my eyes to having all the right gear especially having buoys to hold your kaimoana, have a rest on and to rescue someone.


I thought I knew a lot about diving but doing this programme I learnt so much. Not having all the right gear can be dangerous especially diving with shoes and not having fins.

Complete our FREE e-learning module: Water Safety for the Māori Community (Te Reo Māori).

Tikanga Marutau Wai Mō te Hapori Māori – E aro atu ana tēnei akoranga ki ngā ngohe wai i roto i te hapori Māori, pēnei mai i te waka ama, ruku kai moana, me te hī ika mā te kupenga.

Splash Breakaway

Splash Breakaway

The Splash Break-away Holiday Programme was designed to work with youth aged between 11- 17 years to stop preventable drownings from happening.

The programme focuses on building tamariki and rangatahi water competence, rather than focusing on swimming skills alone. It incorporates a wide range of recreational water experiences and simulations that puts discussion and theory into a practical format so that in-depth learning can take place.

The Statistics

In the period of 2015-2019 there were 93 preventable drownings in Tamaki Makaurau and 408 in Aotearoa. Drowning is the second highest cause of death as a result of unintentional injury among 1–24 years (WSNZ, 2018). The highest age group for preventable drownings are those aged between 15-24 years of age regionally and nationally.

15 Water Competencies

This programme focuses on the 15 drowning prevention water competencies that is a “sum of all personal aquatic movements that help to prevent drownings as well as the associated water safety knowledge, attitudes values, judgement and behaviours that facilitate safety in, on and around water’ (Moran, 2013., pp4).

Splash Break-away helps to increase knowledge and awareness of the different and unique water environments that are abundant all across Tāmaki Makaurau. The goal is to reduce risky behaviour when participants go on to visit specific water environments such as the beach, local pool, and/or fresh waterholes.

Each participant receives a Splash Break-away certificate on completion, along with the Coastguard Boating Education Programme certificate which is delivered in partnership with Coastguard Boating Education.

Equipping tamariki and rangatahi with aquatic skills is not only for their personal benefit but is also so they can become role models amongst friends and family. Drowning Prevention Auckland are confident that this programme contributes to developing a culture of water safety throughout youth and their families.

Splash is designed for those who would not normally attend a holiday programme by removing barriers for the participant and their family such as financial costs and providing our participants with a free basic lunch and a loan rash shirt for the day.

Drowning Prevention Auckland has been delivering Splash Break-Away since 2009 and continues to expand throughout the Auckland Region. The drowning prevention water competencies that are taught are being more recognised in swim schools and through formal education. Children learn lifelong valuable skills while taking part in this programme.

We would like to thank Oranga Tamariki for the continuous support in funding the break-away programme. Without your funding we would not be able to deliver such a beneficial programme to the number of kids who go through it each year.

Complete the FREE e-learning module: Water Safety for Youth & Young Adults

Early Childhood Water Safety Education Programme

Early Childhood Water Safety Education Programme

As children become mobile they begin to explore their surroundings, however their sense of curiosity and adventure is not matched by an understanding of the possible risks and dangers.

Drowning Prevention Auckland offers parents and caregivers the opportunity to learn more about keeping their under 5s safe in, on and around water so that we can work together to reduce the risk of drowning.

Parent / caregiver in water with under 5

With funding support from Water Safety New Zealand we provide water safety workshops which will enable parents and caregivers to:

  • Develop their own water competence – knowledge, understanding and skills.
  • Be more confident and skilled to provide essential water safety learning for their pre-school children, and to implement appropriate protective practices to keep their children safer in, on and near water.
  • Experience fun and safe activities with their under 5s in frequently accessed water environments.

While water can be fun, exciting and educational, it is potentially dangerous too and unfortunately in New Zealand our drowning statistics reflect this.

Most children aged 0-4 years of age who drown do so around the home environment with almost half in home pools. An emerging trend is an increase in drownings in environments outside, but close to the home, such as ponds, drains, farm troughs, creeks, and estuaries (WSNZ, 2020).

Group of young kids on the beach with adult supervision

The Early Childhood Water Safety Workshops include several components. The first is an indoor workshop to develop knowledge and understanding of water competence and appropriate protective practices to keep children safer around water. Parents and caregivers will then have the opportunity to develop their own and their child/childrens’ water confidence in a controlled environment. These follow-on in-water sessions take place in a pool and/or open water environments, such as the beach, creek, waterfall, pond, stream, and/or lake.

The open water environment sessions are an invaluable part of the programme and give people a real sense of awareness of the dangers and the risk minimisation strategies available when taking young children to these types of environments.

Early Childhood Centres can also have their children participate in fun, interaction and age appropriate sessions which enable the children to know what to do in a water environment, understand why safety measures are in place and why being safe around water at home and out and about is important.

DPA has the capacity for individuals and groups to book the parent/caregiver workshops and ECE childrens’ sessions throughout March, April and May. Get together with a group of friends, or ask your early childhood centre to organise a group of parents to benefit from this opportunity.

Please enquire to: Lynley Stewart [email protected] 021 0820 4183

Let’s Prevent Further Rock Fishing Deaths

Let’s Prevent Further Rock Fishing Deaths

Auckland’s wild and unpredictable West Coast has claimed the lives of two people who were swept off the rocks this week, prompting Drowning Prevention Auckland to kick start its summer rock fishing awareness campaign early.

Five fishers lost their lives off Auckland’s West Coast in late 2005 which prompted the West Coast Rock Fishing Project. We are now in the 15th year of this project which has seen a reduction in preventable rock fishing drownings over the years. Since the introduction of the project in 2006, there has been an average of one rock fishing drowning per year in Auckland. However, recent incidents show the urgent need to continue this project, particularly with more activity anticipated over summer due to our border restrictions. This project is a collaborative intervention by Auckland Council, Drowning Prevention Auckland (DPA), and Surf Life Saving Northern Region (SLSNR).

Drowning Prevention Auckland’s Chief Executive, Nicola Keen-Biggelaar said that “one of the effects of Covid-19 has been job loss and people struggling to feed their families. We have noticed an increase of people gathering kai moana without following our water safety advice”. Nicola goes on to say that “our eLearning platform is the first in New Zealand for online learning focussed on water safety and has a segment focussed on rock fishing”.

DPA’s Operations Manager, James Lea, attended the first call out last week, as he is a member of the Bethell’s Beach Surf Lifesaving call out squad. He said, “the waves were big, and they had been caught out by the incoming tide.  The fishermen were not wearing lifejackets and fishing on an unsuitable day for that location”. He added, “it’s a top priority for us to reach other rock fishers to reinforce our key messages to avoid drowning and promote always wearing a lifejacket while rock fishing”.

With a large portion of fishers surveyed indicating an Asian ethnic background combined with the fast-growing Asian community in Auckland, this has prompted DPA to hire a Drowning Prevention Advisor for the Asian Community who will endeavour to connect with, communicate, and educate the Asian community to reduce the drowning toll of our Asian population.

Our small but mighty organisation tries to reach as many Aucklanders as possible throughout the year in person through our Aquatic Educators. For the people that we have not yet educated in person we have a FREE eLearning module on safer rock fishing. We ask all fishers to go through this module and remember the key messages and learning before going rock fishing.

DPA’s Aquatic Educator, Harry Aonga, pleas that anyone going rock fishing remembers to wear a lifejacket and correct clothing, for them to check the conditions, and for them to be aware of waves and swells especially on our West Coast.

Remember; don’t underestimate the risks; and don’t overestimate your ability.

Visit the eLearning module: https://www.dpanz.org.nz/courses/safer-rock-fishing/

2020 Annual General Meeting & Forum

2020 Annual General Meeting & Forum

2pm, Thursday 26th November 2020
85 Westhaven Drive, Westhaven, Auckland

2.00pm: Welcome
2.10pm: Updated Strategy
2.25pm – 3.30pm: Forum on CPR
3.30pm: Annual General Meeting
• Welcome.
• Apologies.
• Confirmation of Quorum.
• Confirmation of the Minutes of the 25th AGM held 02 December 2019.
• Presentation and adoption of Chairperson’s Report.
• Presentation and adoption of Annual Report 2020.
• Election of Officers.
• Appointment of Auditor.
• Appointment of Legal Advisor.
• General Business pertinent to the Annual General Meeting.
Each full member (in accordance with Clause 2.1(c)) shall be entitled to designate an
individual chosen by that member to represent them and vote on
their behalf at the Annual General Meeting.
3.45pm: Closing and Refreshments

RSVP to [email protected]

DPA Covid-19 Programme Table

DPA Covid-19 Programme Table

We are keeping drowning prevention education alive!

At Alert Level 2.5, the majority of our programmes are able to be delivered in some capacity. This table hopefully shows what we are able to deliver at the different Covid-19 levels. We will keep up communication either through our website and or through our social media pages.

We’ve worked hard to set up our programmes and be as agile as possible during this pandemic. We are doing everything possible and necessary to follow the health and safety guidelines from the Ministry of Health NZ. We ask that you help us by also following these guidelines.

Thanks for your continued support,

Take care,
The team at DPA.