Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Harbourmaster has completed the inaugural “Kia marutau ki te wai” – a pilot education programme providing safer boating training specific to the needs of individual iwi and hapū.
Thanks to $10,000 of Maritime NZ funding, nine Safer Boating ambassadors from Otawhiwhi Marae in Waihi, Te Rereatukahia Marae in Katikati, and students from Ngāti Awa iwi were put through the Coastguard boating education Day Skipper course.
Harbourmaster Jon Jon Peters says they will now review the process and are set to roll-out the program again this year.
“Māori make up almost a third of this region’s population and 15 percent of the overall national population,” Peters says.
“Unfortunately, over the last 10 years, 20 to 25 percent of nationwide drownings have been Māori. This course will give these ambassadors the knowledge to pass onto friends and whānau and prevent adding to those statistics.”
“During the training the ambassadors also got to experience and understand why and what the Toi Moana Maritime team does in terms of enforcing the Navigation Safety Bylaws to keep the community safe.”
Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Maritime Officer Julie Taylor oversees the programme and says extra practical training was carried out to support the ambassadors’ day skipper theory and broaden their maritime knowledge.
“The skills will enable them to teach others with more confidence as Safer Boating Ambassadors for the Harbourmaster team,” Ms Taylor says.
“The training included a bar crossing practical, Harbour patrol education, VHF training and in-water survival techniques.”
These Safer Boating Ambassadors will now join the Regional Council summer student team at local boat ramp education days, Coastguards Old for New lifejacket swap programs, and deliver safer boating education over school holidays at their local marae.
Maritime NZ supports Water Safety New Zealand’s strategy to develop water safety education programmes for Māori communities.
Maritime NZ spokesperson Matt Wood says there is a need for education programmes to reflect Māori aspirations for safety on, in and around water.
“We need to develop and deliver water safety programmes in partnership with tangata whenua, and ensure these programmes are designed from a Te Ao Māori perspective.
It is about reducing water fatalities and injuries and we know that partnering with Iwi to develop a meaningful approach that is sustainable will achieve this.” Matt Wood says.
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