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Water Safety New Zealand

Kia Maanu Kia Ora
2023 Funding Round

Kia Maanu Kia Ora putea  - thanks to the support of Sport New Zealand and Lotteries Grants Board

Welcome to the Kia Maanu Kia Ora putea. This putea is focussed on driving down the disproportionate rate of Māori drowning. It encourages kaupapa Māori solutions that focus on addressing the underlying reasons why Māori being disproportionately impacted. The end goal is to support safe connection to water.

Kia Maanu Kia Ora

Tīhei mauri ora
E ngā mana e ngā reo
E ngā rau rangatira mā
Tēnā koutou katoa
Ka mihi ki a Ranginui me Papatūānuku
Ka mihi ki a Tangaroa, me Hinemoana
E ngā hunga mate kua whetūrangitia, moe mai rā. Kāti.
Ka huri ki te kaupapa o te wā.
E te whanau o Haumarau Wai, nau mai, haere mai ki roto i tēnei kōrero.
Tēnā koutou katoa

Nāu te rourou, nāku te rourou, ka ora ai te iwi.


Māori are more likely to drown in Aotearoa than others. This unfortunate fact is laid bare in the 2022 Drowning Report | Water Safety NZ  . The report makes clear who’s most ‘at risk’, where, doing what. This information helps everyone refine programmes and solutions to focus on the greatest areas of risk.

For Māori, most drownings occur in the North Island. Specifically, northern and coastal eastern areas. Otago and Southland are also areas of concern. Coastal North Island locations are where a significant number of Māori live. These areas also have favourable conditions that support frequent connection with wai. It is these communities that are most ‘at risk’ and this is where we would encourage the majority of effort to be targeted. 

Gathering kaimoana is a significant driver, linking a large proportion of past fatalities for males 35+, with swimming, boating and underwater activities all featuring highly. Although all connected by the desire to put kai on the table, risks are location and activity specific. Local knowledge will be an important part of the mix in working out what solutions are needed where to tackle the areas of highest risk first.

Incidents associated with younger Māori males “jumping off things and coming to grief” is a secondary area of focus.


What is meant by a kaupapa Māori approach

We are specifically looking for solutions that are based on the Wai Puna theory of connection and engagement ( Please take the time to review the online material that describes the approach and what it means. This model was developed by Dr Chanel Phillips, drawing on Māori values to strengthen (safe) connection to wai. The approach describes the importance of whakapapa, matauranga and tikanga in sustaining connection.


Rob Hewitt ( is available to help understand the model and what we are looking for in any programme seeking funding from this putea.

Good knowledge of who is being targeted and the specific situation causing risk, and that this aligns with those Māori who are most at risk based on past drownings.


Good understanding of what is driving the higher risk for the target group. Is it a knowledge gap, skill gap, decision making challenge, equipment issue, etc is the underlying cause of increased risk in this specific situation?


A solution that matches the problem and needs of the target group.  We are after well thought out approaches, drawn on the Wai Puna model that can demonstrate a high likelihood of reducing the risk for the target group/situation.


A commitment to ongoing learning and improvement.


What does this putea fund?

Interventions/programmes/approaches that clearly demonstrate:

This putea is not focused on:

  • Programmes targeting other ‘at risk’ ethnicities.

  • Search and Rescue services - funding for this may be available through the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board Outdoor Safety Committee.

  • Craft related interventions – funding for this priority is already provided for via Maritime New Zealand’s Safer Boating (FED) funding.

  • Costs arising from changes to government policies, regulations, or legislation.

  • Professional development for organisations or individuals.

  • Research.

  • Capital expenses.

  • Clubs delivering programmes to their members.

  • Schools delivering programmes to their students.

  • In general, applications for capital expenditure, debt repayments and an organisations’ day to day operational/running costs will not be funded.


Assessment criteria

History tells us that applications for funding support will far outweigh the money available. Decisions will be based on the following criteria:

  1. Alignment with priority problem. Who is being targeted, where, doing what and what makes this group a priority.

  2. Appropriateness of the solution and expected impact. A kaupapa Māori approach that demonstrates a clear relationship between the solution and targeted challenge and that is likely to result in a meaningful impact on safe engagement with wai.

  3. Appropriateness of the solution and expected impact. A kaupapa Māori approach that demonstrates a clear relationship between the solution and targeted challenge and that is likely to result in a meaningful impact on safe engagement with wai.

  4. Warranty. Demonstrating track record and capability to deliver the project to the standards it has proposed, efficiently and effectively.

  5. Collaboration and Leverage. This is about the ability of the project/applicant to generate collective effort and buy-in, or additional funding from other stakeholders. It is worth noting that Water Safety New Zealand would look to see that the provider had other funding sources available, rather than relying solely on Water Safety New Zealand’s funding support.


You will have noticed that applying for funding from us is occurring 6-8 weeks later than previous years. Unfortunately, the funding that we receive isn’t confirmed until late July, early August each year. This determines when decision can be made. We also received feedback last year that the delay between applying for funding and making decisions was far too long and that this drove frustration and uncertainty. For this reason, we have delayed and shortened the process. But our commitment is to make decisions within the same timeframe as we last year. Decisions were made and communicated late August, and this will also be the case this year.

Apply Here

2023/24 Kia Maanu Kia Ora Putea

Water Safety New Zealand is pleased to announce that the 2023-2024 Kia Maanu Kia Ora funding round is now open for applications.

Key Dates:

  • 21 July 2023 - Funding Round Open

  • 11 August 2023 (5pm) - Applications Close

  • End of August 2023 - Notification of outcomes to applicants

Get in Touch

Contact Rob Hewitt ( or 0274160069), Kaihautu for Water Safety New Zealand or Gavin Walker ( or 021899798) to discuss your proposal or clarify any concerns before applying.

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