Waterwise Experience


Our objectives

The objectives of Waterwise are to establish and develop

  • Self confidence
  • Water safety
  • Swimming and fitness
  • Rowing, canoeing and yachting skills

Waterwise is a purely voluntary organisation with a core of people who train parents to give them the necessary skills to pass on to pupils from member schools. To ensure standards are maintained Yachting N.Z. appoints examiners who must undertake additional training. We cater for varying interests and abilities- by planning sequential learning activities for each child.

We place enjoyment, understanding of a water environment, awareness of personal limitations and knowledge of conditions, which would cause danger, ahead of competitive endeavour. Waterwise operates in primary and intermediate schools, during school hours. This ensures that pupils receive a minimum of three half-day sessions a term during the first and fourth terms.

We encourage pupils to enjoy the marine environment of N.Z. safely and promote conservation, self-responsibility and common sense. Waterwise is not a learn to sail programme – it is a programme which operates in schools to promote confidence in the marine environment through education and a thorough understanding of water safety principals.

Members of each Waterwise Centre Board of Management meet periodically to share information, develop ideas and make improvements. They formed The N.Z. Schools Waterwise Society Inc. to help raise additional funding to promote the Waterwise concept throughout N.Z.

A Short History

Waterwise was conceived on April 1980 on the shores of Lake Pupuke, Auckland, during a school-working bee.  The principal of Milford Primary School and a group of parents had a vision, which after many hours of voluntary work would see the formation of The Pupuke Schools Waterwise Society.  Representatives from six member schools, The Education Department, Yachting N.Z., The Water Safety Council and local service organisations and businesses worked together to provide yachts, kayaks, patrol boats, life jackets and other facilities.

The society was incorporated in February 1982 and commenced operation in October that year.  In April of 1983 the late Diana, Princess of Wales officially opened the Pupuke Waterwise Centre.

There are now four Waterwise centres in North Shore City catering for in excess of 5000 pupils per year.  One centre in Rodney, three in Auckland with two more being developed, and a number in varying forms throughout N.Z. Waterwise is now operating in the USA and enquires have been received from Australia.


Links – Waterwise links you may find useful

Waterwise is the most successful programme in New Zealand in not only teaching our youngsters about safety in and around the water, but also for introducing young sailors around the age of ten years old into the sport.

Staying Waterwise

Staying Waterwise on the water – Breakfast TV speaks to Stephen Cornelius from Waterwise NZ about boating safety within the Waterwise programme.

Watersafe Auckland (link)

Watersafe Auckland Inc (WAI) includes information of the Waterwise programme on it’s website

Water Safety NZ (link)

Water Safety New Zealand – Educational Portal for Integrated Aquatic Programme for Year 0-8
A number of organisations have developed water safety education teaching and learning programmes for schools. Each of the programmes has a different target audience and focus.

Maritime NZ Boat Safety (link)

Maritime New Zealand – Being safe in boats
Health and Physical Education unit for Years 1-4

Waterwise (Link)

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