Water safety education in te reo Māori aims to reduce drowning deaths

Samantha Gunther said Māori made up 20 percent of all drowning deaths and that was why there was a need to educate them. - Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

A group trying to stop the number of people who drown has launched educational water safety videos in te reo Māori.

Drowning Prevention Auckland said last year 66 people died from preventable drowning incidents and 204 people were hospitalised.

Its business manager, Samantha Gunther, said drowning was the leading cause of recreational deaths in the country.

Māori made up 20 percent of all drowning deaths and that was why there was a need to educate them in te reo Māori, she said.

"Sadly, a large number of drownings are kai gathering, waka and net finishing so we felt the need to educate on water safety on those specific activities," she said.

"We know for a fact that not all of them are doing those activities safely or wearing the right gear - like a life jacket when out on the waka and having the right gear when out kai gathering.

"So with the videos on the e-learning platform it goes through what gear is needed."

Ms Gunther said the group had worked with iwi to develop the safety videos.

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