19 Nov 2012

Hopes campaign can curb Pacific drownings

11:27 am on 19 November 2012

The head of Water Safety New Zealand says too many Pacific people are drowing in New Zealand waters and he hopes messages from actor Oscar Kightley will inspire others to learn to swim this summer.

Matt Claridge says water currents and temperatures in New Zealand are very different to lagoon conditions in the islands and Pacific fathers fishing off rocks and from boats can't take anything for granted when it comes to water safety.

He says he hopes by watching Oscar Kightley having fun learning to swim during the campaign, families will start taking lessons themselves in water survival.

He says every death by drowning has a huge impact on families left behind.

"There's a real sense of tragedy with every one, because they're typically males and they're typically fathers. So that obviously has a big social impact not just on the family, and typically obviously big families, but also the ongoing income, ongoing ability to put food on the table. It's a real big social impact."

Matt Claridge says watching little children closely near water, and teaching swim survival skills, as well as using lifejackets and avoiding alcohol in boats, will prevent people from drowning this summer.