, 2022-12-19 17:34:45,
With summer here, families and tourists will flock to New Zealand’s beaches, rivers and lakes to paddle, swim, surf, fish, boat and kayak. But despite our love of the water, New Zealanders have a terrible record of drowning deaths.
Last summer was the worst year for drownings in a decade. Our ten-year average beach and coastal drowning rate is 44% per capita higher than Australia’s. According to Water Safety NZ chief executive Daniel Gerrard, “Drowning is the leading cause of recreational death and the third-highest cause of accidental death.”
The data also reveal that Asian and Māori communities are over-represented in both fatal and non-fatal drownings. New Zealand research suggests Western approaches to water safety have not worked for Māori. Water safety educators and advocates are now working to strengthen the connection Māori have with water through whakapapa (genealogy), mātauranga (knowledge) and tikanga (custom).
Our research with the Auckland Chinese community suggests the same may be needed for Asian New Zealanders, who are expected to make up 26% of the population by 2043. Asian drowning fatalities in 2021 more than doubled from 2020, from seven to 19. This was 72% more than the five-year average of 11. Understanding how best to educate the Asian community about water safety is a clear priority.
More support for migrants
Many first-generation Chinese grew up in urban areas where outdoor swimming in lakes and reservoirs was either not…
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