Auckland's Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Strategy

The purpose of Wai Ora Tāmaki Makaurau – Auckland’s Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Strategy is to be informed by our communities to “set the direction” for the sector, so that all can progress towards the ultimate vision “no one drowns”. This acknowledges the challenge of our beautifully diverse region and a large number of separate entities and stakeholders involved in the sector. The Strategy will provide direction, encourage collaboration and ultimately strive for collective impact between all those involved in drowning prevention and water safety in Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland.


Everyone in Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland has the opportunity to safely connect to and enjoy the water.

Kia whai waahi katoa ngā tāngata o Tāmaki Makaurau ki te noho haumaru ki te wai.


Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland works collectively to instill respect for the water and encourage safe tikanga and behaviours by all people to prevent water related injuries and preventable drowning.

Wai Ora Tāmaki Makaurau Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Strategy

Process Map



We will keep you informed

Oct 2021



We will keep you informed, listen to and acknowledge your concerns and aspirations.

Nov 2021



We will work with you to ensure that your concerns and aspirations are reflected in the draft strategy and share how feedback influenced the decisions.

Nov 2021 - Apr 2022


We will look to you for advice and innovation in formulating solutions and incorporate your advice and recommendations into the decision making.

May - Jun 2022


We will implement together what the community and sector decides is best for Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland.

Jul 2022 onwards

Area Boundary

Hapū and Iwi of Tāmaki Makaurau

Key Messages

Download the key messages following the online sector hui held on Tuesday 5th October 2021.

Meet the Steering Group Members

Nicola Keen-Biggelaar
Jennifer Gill - Philanthropic and Strategic Consultant

Jenny is a Philanthropic and Strategic Consultant with a career of over 40 years in the non profit sector and philanthropy. Jenny spent 15 years at the head of Foundation North, New Zealand’s largest philanthropic trust. She was the inaugural awardee of Philanthropy New Zealand’s Perpetual Guardian Lifetime Achievement in Philanthropy Award and was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2017 New Year’s Honours.

Nicola Keen-Biggelaar
Nicola Keen-Biggelaar - CE, Drowning Prevention Auckland
Nicola brings a commitment to excellence, a passion for leading people and a willingness to leave a positive legacy. The cause of drowning prevention is meaningful to her after experiencing the community impact of drowning, when one of her son’s friends drowned in a home pool at the age of two. Nicola has nearly twenty years’ experience in funding with a decade of this experience in community investment management for a large corporate. She brings a partnership approach to all that she does having seen the benefit collaboration has for collective impact that serves our communities.

“What I am looking forward to the most, is all the participating organisations, and the wider sector, coming together to make the most of their expertise, boldly finding the opportunities to work together collegially and collectively, and getting beyond our individual goals to be led by what our communities need. As a region we are surrounded by water and I feel passionate about making sure every child and adult has access to the education they need to be competent and feel confident around water – whether they’re at the local pool, or at one of our many beautiful beaches and to know what the risks are and how to avoid them.”

Nicola Keen-Biggelaar
Dave Lockwood - Outdoors Group Manager, YMCA
Nominated Sector Representative

As outdoors group manager at YMCA north – Dave was nominated and voted in by the sector as a representative on the steering group.

Dave brings 35 years in the Not For Profit Sector, including senior management roles in Water Safety NZ, Counties Manukau Sport, NZ Sport Fishing Council and YMCA North. In his current role with YMCA North Dave leads the Outdoors and Fundraising teams.

Dave is committed to partnership programs that increases our reach into the community and deliver meaningful outcomes. “My role is to serve the community and enable and empower them,” says Dave, who was born and raised in the Counties Manukau region and has spent a good portion of his working life there.

Nicola Keen-Biggelaar
Daniel Gerrard - CE, Water Safety New Zealand
Daniel joined WSNZ in May 2021 taking the helm of the organisation following the successful launch of Wai Ora Aotearoa: Navigating to a safer future. New Zealand Water Safety Sector Strategy 2025.

Daniel Gerrard has extensive experience in the sector in leadership roles most recently as Head of Member Services at Surf Life Saving (Northern) and has previously held Chief Executive positions at Sport Auckland and Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti.

He’s spent over 12 years as Chair and board member of Canoe Racing NZ and Sportnet (Regional Sports Trusts Governing body) and was instrumental in developing and executing the Greater Auckland Aquatic Action plan (GAAAP).

Daniel has led the development and execution of organisational strategies for Virgin Active Thailand, Sport Auckland, Sport Gisborne and the Peter Snell Institute of Sport.

Daniel Gerrard says more Kiwis, especially kids, need access to lifelong participation in sport and recreation, especially in and around water.

“As Kiwis we love the water, in particular our spectacular and often wild coastlines and waterways. I am passionate about the safety of all Kiwis, especially when it comes to water and the important role it can play in personal growth. I’m excited about this opportunity to assist New Zealand’s Water Safety Sector in achieving its aspirational outcomes and bring down our drowning toll.”

Nicola Keen-Biggelaar
Harley Wade - Ngāti Paoa, Senior Cultural Advisor
Mana Whenua Member

Harley is a Senior Cultural Advisor for the Ngāti Pāoa Iwi Trust and belongs to the Tainui confederation of tribes: Waikato, Maniapoto, Raukawa and Hauraki.

Harley belongs to Ngāti Pāoa and is an experienced educator with a demonstrated history of working across Mainstream, Bi-lingual and Total Immersion settings. He is also experienced with working in local Government and Iwi / Mana Whenua environmental spaces. He has strong interests in Creative Strategy, Cultural Awareness and Transformation, Cultural Resource Management, Strategic Planning and Partnerships.

Nicola Keen-Biggelaar
Monique Maihi-Pihema - Ngāti Whātua Orākei, Kaiwhakahaere Hononga Tāngata | Engagement Manager
Mana Whenua Member

Monique is the Kaiwhakahaere Hononga Tangata / Stakeholder Relationships Manager for Ngāti Whātua Orākei Trust. Monique was a previous board member of Drowning Prevention Auckland and supported the board in the development of the Māori Water Safety Mātāpono. Monique chairs the Ngāti Whātua Orākei Volcanoes Sports Club and waka ama has been a key component of the sports activities that we provide the descendants and community of Orākei to reconnect to Waitematā.

Nicola Keen-Biggelaar
Dave Stewart - Head of Active Recreation, Auckland Council
Dave brings over 15 years’ experience in the sport and recreation sector across a variety of leadership roles. Dave is a driven and focused leader with strengths in creating and executing strategy in complex environments. Dave has a high degree of political savvy and the ability to communicate effectively with stakeholders from governance through to community delivery.

Dave currently leads 800+ employees across Tāmaki Makaurau, and $50M+ of operating expenditure to deliver play, active recreation and sport outcomes. “With innovation, accountability, and equity at the heart of my approach, I ensure every dollar is used to its fullest potential.”

Dave has a passion for the water having grown up in Tāmaki Makaurau and spends every opportunity he can both in and on the water around the region.

Meet the Strategy & Implementation Manager

Nicola Keen-Biggelaar
Joanne Macmillan - Strategy & Implementation Manager, DPA
Bachelor of Physical Education, DipTchng

Jo brings over 15 years’ experience in the education and public sector specialising in sport, recreation and environmental services. With a strong foundation in strategy development and implementation management Jo spent nearly ten years with Auckland Council in varying roles. Jo developed, implemented and drove strategic initiatives that promoted and enabled active and environmentally friendly communities. Jo has been instrumental in the success of various large public projects resulting from exceptional stakeholder engagement. Jo is passionate about working with targeted Māori, Pasifika and Asian communities and ensuring that these targeted communities are recognised and represented.

Jo is originally from South Africa and when not at work can be found with her family and friends either in, on or beside the water.

Sector Communications

Sector Hui October 2021
Sector Documents