As most people are aware, sponsorship in sport is critical, and at Sport Northland it is no different.
To run the events, activities and facilities that we do to encourage more Northlanders into play, active recreation and sport, sponsorship is so important.
It’s always nice too, when those sponsors are local ones, and as such Sport Northland is extremely proud and grateful to celebrate the milestone of Top Energy having sponsored the Far North water safety programme for 25 years.
A group of Far North students from Oruaiti and Kaeo School, along with Top Energy and Sport Northland personnel, recently celebrated the milestone at a “Have A Go” water safety day at Lake Manuwai, near Kerikeri.
The longstanding partnership between Top Energy and Sport Northland began way back in 1997, when the concept of developing a water safety programme for the Far North was born. The water safety initiative came about due to Northland’s extensive coastline and much of the community utilising it for recreation, as well as Northland’s high drowning statistics.
It was also recognised that teachers and schools needed support to deliver water safety and learn-to-swim programmes in their schools, given aquatics was no longer compulsory as part of the New Zealand Curriculum.
The initiative has evolved over the 25 years to meet the demands of the community where it now supports Year 1-8 students in Far North schools to receive free water safety lessons at their school pool or aquatic environment. In this current summer season, 40 Far North primary and intermediate schools are receiving lessons with more receiving support through the programme’s online resources and/or through professional development opportunities for teachers.
Over the years, more than 300,000 swimmer lessons have been delivered and several awards have been won for the innovative programme, but the main driver for the programme has always been to teach tamariki water safety awareness and survival skills to achieve zero preventable drownings and embed water safety skills as a life skill.
The longevity of the sponsorship is a testament to both the popularity and impact of the initiative, as well as to the focus that Top Energy has on “giving back” to the Far North community. As a local Northland company, Top Energy has been unwavering in their support of the initiative, and Sport Northland is extremely grateful that they continue to help fund this critical service that benefits our Far North tamariki so much. We know that recreating in and on our waterways can be dangerous, so to learn these skills at an early age is vital in keeping our young people safe.
The success of the programme has led directly to the initiative being extended Northland-wide, with other funders coming on board (Water Safety New Zealand and Te Whatu Ora) resulting in a much larger reach where over 8500 Northland students each year receive free water safety lessons across term 4 and term 1.
On behalf of all those who have benefitted from the sponsorship, a massive thank you to Top Energy for the generous support over so many years.