July 27, 2022
Kai pressure ups drowning risk
Water Safety New Zealand says people are taking extreme risks to put kai on the table for their homes or marae.
Last year there were 90 deaths by drowning, the highest number in a decade.
Chief executive Daniel Gerrard says two groups that stood out were people swept into the water while fishing from rocks, who were mainly Asian men aged over 35, and diving accidents, who were more likely to be Māori men aged 35-65.
“It seems to have shifted from that recreational fun activity to that need to put food on the table, and because of that, we are taking greater risks than perhaps we should. Underwater deaths. Predominantly snorkeling or free diving, vast majority Māori, vast majority up north, all male,” he says.
Mr Gerrard says analysis of the incidents shows many of the deaths are in weather conditions people should not be out in.
He says people need to learn the basics of swimming and water safety from a young age to avoid preventable drownings.