About Water Safety
As an island nation in the south pacific, enjoying the water is deeply engrained in our DNA. Our ocean, coasts, beaches, lakes and rivers help define us and reflect the people we have become. Water is life and in New Zealand, it’s our way of life.
Through leadership, advocacy and education, Water Safety New Zealand works with water safety sector organisations, individuals and the public to reduce the incidence of drowning and injury in Aotearoa New Zealand. Our work contributes to the reduction in drownings and to a thriving society for individuals, families and communities.
Experiences in, on or around the water are part of what we do and what makes us Kiwi. But sadly drownings and non-fatal drowning incidents are all too common.
"Well, I’m a 49-year-old Pakeha male, a husband, a father, a son, a brother and an uncle. I’m also a boat owner and active fisherman. I’ll surf when I can, but love to dive to put kai moana on the dinner table. In short, I’m exactly the kind of bullet-proof ‘Kiwi Bloke’ we’ll lose over the coming months due to bad decisions made around water. And, in my other role as the Chief Executive of Water Safety New Zealand, I need your help."
How we make a difference
Water Safety New Zealand provides leadership, advocacy, policy development and funding to the water safety sector.
We are an association of members in the water safety sector with an elected board and recruited management and administration team. It is an incorporated society, with charitable status. The majority of our funding is received from the Lotteries Grants Board via Sport New Zealand for distribution to water safety providers through an annual grants round. Water Safety New Zealand itself is funded by Sport New Zealand while ACC, businesses, trusts, foundations and individuals support specific initiatives and programmes.
To make a difference we need to be exceptional. We punch above our weight and keep striving to be better. We face a complex problem and are problem solvers. We aim high and look to continuously improve.
We have one cause and don’t get distracted. We only do things that demonstrably increase safety in, on and around the water. We prioritise with the big picture at the heart of all our decision making and activity. We lead with trusted authority.
Growth & Innovation
We take risks, try different things and keep learning because things will always change. We take creative measures based on evidence to make bold decisions. We keep things fresh and engaging and we seek to grow the capability of our members and partners.
We are story tellers. We encourage, reinforce, stay forward looking and specify our messages in ways that draw people towards us and what we have to say. If we challenge, we do so positively. We’re an optimistic group tackling a tough challenge.
We’re in the caring business. We care about people and their prospects. So a generous and curious disposition is vital. We won’t judge. It’s also crucial to our team dynamic, we work under pressure and need to be supportive of each other.
Our Vision & Purpose
Through our work:
More people will influence others to have safe experiences in, on or around water.
More people will come to respect the power of water and know their own ability to manage theirs and other’s water experiences
More babies, toddlers and preschoolers will be nurtured around water by the people they trust
More school-age children will learn water skills for life
More young people will be exposed to water skills and pathways to water sports, volunteering and work experiences around water
More new New Zealanders and visitors to Aotearoa, New Zealand, will adopt the Kiwi culture of being respectful of the water, the conditions and be water-wise.
By 2025 more people in New Zealand respect the water and have the skills, knowledge and awareness to enjoy it safely.
Kate is the Te Tumu Whakarae / Chief Executive at Volunteer Service Abroad. She has broad experience in a range of governance roles with a particular focus on change leadership, public policy/regulation and large scale service delivery.
Kate is keenly aware of the need to influence water awareness and safety practices in NZ given the tragic fatality statistics and the significant impact this has on families throughout the country.
She maintains an active interest personally in water sports - including as an open water swimmer competing each season and played water polo as a young adult. These experiences have shaped her views around supporting children into water sports and related activities at an early age to help build lifelong skills and confidence.
Te Whanganui-a-Tara / Wellington is home for Kate, she now lives on the South Coast of Wellington with her partner and teenage daughter and enjoys being near the ocean.
Core Member Delegate (SLSNZ)
Michael has a rich background and active experience across many facets of water safety and within the sector.
These include Surf Life Saving New Zealand, swimming, kayaking, canoe, multi-sport and the Drowning Prevention Commission of the International Life Saving Federation.
Michael brings together commercial and local and regional government experience which supports the collective impact model Water Safety New Zealand works within in bringing sector partners together.
Dr. Anne-Marie Jackson
Tribal Affiliations: Ngāti Whātua, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Wai, Ngāti Kahu o Whangaroa.
Anne-Marie is a Māori academic in physical education and health and serves Māori organisations and communities in governance and advisory roles. She is co-Director of a new national Centre of Research Excellence Coastal People: Southern Skies. She also co-leads Te Koronga, a world recognised Māori research and teaching excellence kaupapa.
Anne-Marie is a passionate water safety practitioner across the spheres of Māori water safety research centred within a Māori worldview, Te Tiriti and Kaupapa Māori for flourishing wellness.
Tangaroa Ara Rau is a collective of Māori researchers, organisations and communities who are committed to Māori approaches of water safety and Anne-Marie has been a contributing leader and member since 2015.
Core Member Delegate (Swimming NZ)
Anna combines running her own taxation and legal advisory practice with a senior finance leadership role at Powerco Limited. She has had a wide range of governance experience and currently is the deputy chair of Swimming NZ. Anna brings a strong commercial acumen along with her finance and risk management skills to all her roles. As an advisor she has spent numerous hours advocating for policy and legislation changes over the years.
Over the summer (and some of the colder months too) you will find Anna and her whanau either on the water or in it, swimming, surfing and boating. Anna is passionate about our Tamaraki learning to swim and being safe in and on the water, it is this passion that originally bought her to Swimming NZ. She spent many of her younger years patrolling our beaches and competing as a surf lifeguard. Based in the Waikato, Anna is also a member of the Institute of Directors and holds a practising certificate as Barrister & Solicitor.
Core Member Delegate (Coastguard NZ)
Pete is of Ngtati Kahungunu and Ngati Rongomaiwahine descent and is currently a member of Coastguard New Zealand Te Puhura mana Iwi , Maori, Pacifica and Asian Advisory group. Pete has also recently completed 6 years on the Coastguard New Zealand Board . He has been a member of Coastguard for over 15 years in Nelson.
In his board role Pete and 2 other board members reviewed NZ Drowning statistics for a 5 year period to learn more about the causes of drowning to better understand what was happening .
Pete has been fortunate to have a diverse career across a range of roles from the Military to the UN and an International treaty organisation banning Chemical Weapons to his current role as a Principal Advisor Emergency Management in the health sector.
Pete is an avid water user from being a boatie, to an occasional sea kayaker, a recreational swimmer and a qualified Diver having had the privilege to dive in a number of countries.
Pete currently lives in Whakatu (Nelson) which has an abundance of aquatic activities to keep a water lover happy .and is proud to be a member of the Water Safety new Zealand Board
James has a professional background in the outdoor recreation and tourism industries. This includes governance, general management, marketing and sales roles, with significant collaboration and partnership experience with commercial and not for profit entities across the public and private sectors at a regional, national and international level.
James loves to get out exploring the great outdoors with his family and appreciates the importance of the work Water Safety New Zealand does to ensure everyone has the right skills and experience to enjoy our spectacular lakes and rivers confidently and safely. He has a passion for multisport, kayaking white water rivers in a multisport long boat, and lake swimming.
General Member Delegate
Kira has been a member of the Water Safety New Zealand Board since October 2021. She has extensive governance experience, both as a Board member and as an executive, interacting with and advising Boards, specifically in the People & Culture and executive remuneration areas.
Kira spent 9 years with Fonterra in a variety of senior leadership roles in New Zealand and Europe. Following this, she led various large-scale transformational change projects in the not-for-profit and corporate sectors, including governance and organisational restructures in Coastguard and the SPCA – in each case culminating in more unified, national entities, poised to drive long-term strategy and enhanced community benefits.
As an avid ‘boatie’, Kira has a deep appreciation for water safety and the critical role that education, communication and advocacy play in preventing avoidable drowning and other marine-related crises.