Water Safety New Zealand, Auckland Council, Drowning Prevention Auckland and a number of Auckland water safety partners are working together this summer to prevent further drownings at popular summer spot, Hunua Falls.
The Falls is one of the focus areas of the Auckland regional water safety plan, a collaborative plan to better co-ordinate efforts and activities in Auckland, with three fatalities recorded at Hunua in the last three years and huge numbers of visitors over the summer months.
A pilot programme is underway this summer to better educate people about the dangers at the falls, with onsite water safety advisors stationed at the falls over the summer months. Data will also be gathered to gain better insights into visitation and activity at the site.
Hunua Falls boasts the highest number of preventable drownings for Falls in New Zealand since records began, and despite onsite warnings, people continue to lose their lives unnecessarily.
“Hunua Falls while a beautiful spot is also incredibly dangerous” says WSNZ CEO Jonty Mills. “Like all of our waterways everyone needs to be aware of the risks. It’s our hope that this work at Hunua will help us better target important water safety messages to those who may come to the falls and prevent further drownings.”
Auckland Councillor and Parks, Arts, Community and Events Chairperson Alf Filipaina says that the number of deaths at the falls are alarming. “We want people to come and enjoy the beauty of these incredible falls but people need to realise that the falls are unsuitable for swimming”.
Cr Filipaina says that education is important and having an on-site water safety advisors shows how serious the situation has become. “Too many people have died here in the past. We want to do what we can to see no more families suffer the loss of a loved one here”.
Drowning Prevention Auckland CEO Nicola Keen-Biggelaar says the water safety advisors are a great way to educate visitors about the dangers. “It’s so important visitors do not underestimate the risks at Hunua Falls. We really want people enjoying what Auckland has to offer but we want them returning safely to their families at the end of the day”.