Water Safety New Zealand is calling for a zero drowning toll this Christmas.

It believes it could be possible if people know their limits, do not drink alcohol near water, wear lifejackets, and keep children within arm's reach.

For the past five years, on average, 10 people have drowned in New Zealand waters over the official Christmas holiday period.

Last year nine people drowned over the period - which runs from 4pm tomorrow, until 6am, January 3.


"A greater number of people taking part in water based activity results in higher risk and more incidents, but if everyone makes safety a priority and remembers the basics...then a zero toll is achievable," Water Safety New Zealand chief executive Matt Claridge said.

Mr Claridge said 86 people had drowned so far this year.

Last weekend, Christchurch teenager Tominiko Junior Pelenato drowned while swimming with friends at Lake Pegasus, north of Christchurch.