DrownBase - Identifying key factors about Maori drowning in New Zealand

TitleDrownBase - Identifying key factors about Maori drowning in New Zealand
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsHaimona, M
Conference NameWorld Conference on Drowning Prevention
Date Published09/2007
PublisherInternational Life Saving Federation
Conference LocationPorto, Portugal
Other Numbers03-41

DrownBasetm is the official database for Water Safety New Zealand (WSNZ) that records all fatal drowning outcomes in New Zealand and categorizes them in a variety of fields. DrownBasetm was developed in 1990 and contains records of all fatal drowning incidents in New Zealand since 1980. In 2003, drowning statistics indicated that whilst the total number of people drowning in New Zealand was decreasing over time, the proportion of Maori drowning was increasing. Through DrownBasetm Maori male and Maori children under five were identified as the most likely ‘at risk’ group of drowning.  As a result WSNZ launched a Water Safety Campaign, Kia Maanu, Kia Ora (Stay Afloat, Stay Alive) for the provision of quality water safety education to Maori.

Up until 1996 Maori who drowned were only categorized as Maori if they had a Maori surname otherwise they were identified as Caucasian or Unknown. Today, DrownBasetm captures the key factors that contribute to Maori drowning. For example, an investigation of Maori drownings whilst practicing traditional activities such as gathering kaimoana (seafood) and waka ama (outrigger canoe) showed a common factor in these incidents was no safety equipment or adequate safety procedures. Thus, Maritime New Zealand has since produced Waka Ama Guidelines for sport and recreation. Advancing DrownBasetm data may soon include where Maori are from in terms of their tribe and region to better understand whether inland Maori (based by rivers & lakes) are perhaps more ‘at risk’ of drowning than sea based Maori. Recent figures show that Maori drowning has fallen from 28 in 2003 to 19 in 2006 – a reduction of 30%.  This presentation will demonstrate how DrownBasetm is used to identify key factors relating to drowning and priorities for the provision of water safety education to Maori.

Learning Outcomes
  1. Identify through evidence based data key factors and priorities for the provision of water safety education to Maori at a local, regional and national level.
  2. Develop knowledge and the understanding of trends and behaviours that contribute to Maori drowning and water related injury.
  3. Establish partnerships with organisations and community groups that enhance the development, delivery and experience of water safety initiatives to Maori.


Media Folder: