TVNZ & New Zealand Post make a big splash for water safety

6 July 2011

Two of New Zealand’s highest profile crown companies have joined forces in a major sponsorship deal aimed at making a dent in the country’s disastrous record for death by drowning.

TVNZ and New Zealand Post today announced sponsorship of a Water Safety New Zealand (WSNZ) campaign which will deliver practical resources and televised water safety messages to the country in a package worth up to $1.3 million dollars per annum.

TVNZ is providing free air time for WSNZ, using television personalities and the company’s promotional expertise, under its Community Support Foundation scheme.

New Zealand Post will be using its extensive community networks and outreach to spread water safety messages and distribute swimming aids like kickboards, rash tops and goggles to encourage children to safely enjoy one of New Zealand’s most valued lifestyle resources – the water.

Last year in New Zealand 87 people drowned, according to official numbers released today in WSNZ’s annual Drowning Report.

Alan Muir, Executive Director of WSNZ says TVNZ and New Zealand Post’s generosity will save lives. “New Zealand has one of the worst drowning tolls in the developed world. Our partnership with TVNZ and New Zealand Post will enable us to reach so many more people and increase the importance of water safety as a vital issue for all New Zealand communities.”

TVNZ Chief Executive, Rick Ellis, says: “As the country’s national broadcaster, TVNZ is proud to support an organisation that does so much good in the lives of New Zealanders. We’re throwing our full weight behind the efforts to improve New Zealand’s water safety statistics. This year, Water Safety New Zealand will receive up to $100,000 free air time each month to raise the profile of their work. It is the largest grant TVNZ has made to a single charity. Our partnership with New Zealand Post will take the campaign to a new level and make an even bigger impact within the community.”

New Zealand Post Chair, Hon Dr Michael Cullen, says the campaign will appeal to New Zealanders from all walks of life, encouraging them to get active and enjoy the water, but to do so in safe and sensible ways. “As an organisation we’re launching a number of initiatives this year which encourage people to get involved in healthy activities, which are rewarding on so many levels. Our support of Water Safety New Zealand aligns perfectly with that message, encouraging young and old alike to enjoy some of New Zealand’s most abundant natural resources in ways which keep them and their families safe.”

An event to launch the partnership will be held at Parliament on 6 July emceed by TV ONE Breakfast presenter Petra Bagust.

Background information

About Water Safety New Zealand

Formed in 1949, Water Safety New Zealand is the national organisation responsible for water safety education in New Zealand. WSNZ is a composite organisation of various members, and has a vision to ensure that all people in New Zealand will have the water safe attitudes, skills and behaviour necessary to use and enjoy the environment. The organisation achieves its objectives by its own establishment/entity being able to provide a wide range of services and support to its members and the wider public, and by its member organisations taking responsibility for specific aspects of water safety. Each member organisation has its own objectives and sphere of interest, including aspects of water safety and the prevention of drowning. Collectively, WSNZ represents the wide focus of water safety and drowning prevention in New Zealand.

About TVNZ

For over 20 years TVNZ has provided millions of dollars of airtime to help charitable organisations and community groups. Past recipients include the National Heart Foundation, Surf Life Saving New Zealand and the SPCA. TVNZ is New Zealand’s leading television and digital media company. TVNZ has two commercial free-to-air channels TV ONE and TV2, and two digital commercial channels U and TVNZ Heartland and one digital non-commercial channel TVNZ 7. TVNZ also has a significant online presence with tvnz.co.nz, providing up-to-the-minute news, and entertainment. TVNZ Ondemand is TVNZ’s online television catch up site, where New Zealanders can watch their favourite shows whenever they want to.

About New Zealand Post

New Zealand Post has a strong tradition of sponsoring community programmes, and has recently focused on a set of initiatives which encourage people to improve their health and wellbeing by including more physical activity in their lives. This new focus, dubbed ‘Active Post’, includes the current water safety partnership alongside other major programmes which will encourage healthy activity – including a new approach to teaching children basic sports skills. An active supporter of community initiatives, New Zealand Post is 100 percent public owned, and assists government, commercial and personal customers with postal services, banking, courier services, logistics and customer communications.