National | Swimming

Kōhanga Reo part of drowning prevention pilot

Kōhanga Reo is getting behind a national drowning prevention pilot that delivers water safety skills for tamariki under-five to kaiako.

It is a 12-month programme led by SplashSave and Water Safety New Zealand, launched in South Auckland to five kōhanga reo centres.  Te Kōhanga Reo ki Puhinui kaiako Leatiana Tata-Adams was one of the first recipients of the pilot that looks to assess how the programme works.

The lessons are all conducted in te reo Māori with special kupu (words) and swimming techniques to develop safety awareness for tamariki.

“This is an awesome kaupapa that is delivered in te reo Māori and we’re so lucky in Auckland to be one of the first,” Tata-Adams says.

The pilot is aligned with the values of the national curriculum for kōhanga reo, Te Whāriki, and Wai Puna - the theory of Māori water safety developed by Dr Chanel Phillips. Stories like those of Tangaroa (god of the sea) are included in the lessons and waiata.

Drowning is the third highest cause of accidental death in New Zealand. In the past 10 years, 58 under-fives lost their lives.

“We want our kids to take these lessons back to their parents and show them what they’ve learnt.”

“Every year in New Zealand too many people drown off our shorelines, in our rivers and lakes, and at home. In New Zealand, drowning is the leading cause of recreational death and the third highest cause of accidental death,” Water Safety NZ chief executive Daniel Gerrard says.