Being Wai Wise benefits Waitakere's youth

Friday 18 October 2013, 3:15PM
By WaterSafe Auckland


Significant improvement in personal water safety skills, increased self-esteem, leadership skills, social connectedness and community wellbeing, and career and employment pathways, are an example of the positive outcomes of Wai Wise, a drowning prevention programme targeting Waitakere’s young people and their families. 

“I’m walking away confidently knowing that I have taken in a lot of information about the water that I can carry on for my church or family,” says one participant.

More than 228 people have directly benefited from Wai Wise, which has just concluded a successful three-year pilot, working with Pacific, Maori and Asian youth, traditionally involved in water activities, but lacking the ability and knowledge to keep themselves safer when participating in these activities.

“We were pleasantly surprised with the recent evaluation findings, that whilst the programme is aimed at these specific at-risk groups, it has a wider reach and the skills learnt show it being just as valuable to others,” says Stacey Willcox, Coordinator for Wai Wise and WaterSafe Auckland Drowning Prevention.

Stacey cites one such example from a Wai Wise tutor who said that they had learnt a lot about lifejackets and wearing them correctly, and on a recent trip “the students wouldn’t get in to a boat without them [lifejackets]”. 

Wai Wise has been a successful collaboration between WaterSafe Auckland, Sport Waitakere, Safe Waitakere and Surf Life Saving New Zealand, with funding support from Sport New Zealand. 

“With such a successful pilot we are committed to working with more Auckland youth,” said Stacey. “With plans already in place for Manurewa Marae we hope to secure further funding which would enable us to extend our reach to other communities”.


Footnote: Stacey will be presenting Wai Wise at the World Conference on Drowning Prevention, in Potsdam, Germany, which commences on October 20.

Further information and interviews contact: 

Stacey Willcox  
Drowning Prevention Coordinator, 
WaterSafe Auckland 
P 027 451 1404

Sandy Harrop 
WaterSafe Auckland 
P 027 271 5781