Auckland Airport is giving $10,000 each to 12 charities as part of its annual 12 Days of Christmas initiative. The Herald is profiling each initiative in the lead up to the big day. The $120,000 came from change dropped off by travellers at the airport this year.

With summer underway and the holidays soon upon us, cooling off with a swim becomes more popular.

When the number of water users increases, so to do the chances of there being a drowning.

Drowning is currently the fourth leading cause of unintentional death in New Zealand and every year more and more Kiwis - especially children - are injured as a result of a non-fatal drowning.


But thanks to the work of WaterSafe Auckland and other water safety groups, Auckland continues to have one of the lowest drowning rates per capita in New Zealand, Barbara Venville-Gibbons of WaterSafe Auckland explains.

"(It's) a downward trend which we would like to see continue," she said.

Although Auckland's increasingly diverse demography has its difficulties.

"Auckland's increasingly ethnically diverse demography presents challenges.

"In addition to Auckland's many visitors, 40 per cent of the region's residents were not born in New Zealand and the largest concentrations of Asian and Pacific peoples compared to the rest of New Zealand.

"Both these groups continue to be overrepresented (per capita) in the drowning statistics," Venville-Gibbons said.

Using the grant from Auckland Airport, WaterSafe will help support and train more water safety ambassadors so they can attend more community and swimming events.

"We have 17 Water Safety Ambassadors for the Auckland region.


"We want to build a larger, diverse, pool of Ambassadors to enable us to deliver more event activities, achieve greater reach across Auckland, targeting at-risk communities, activities and environments," Venville-Gibbons explained.

Surrounded by water, Auckland Airport is delighted to support WaterSafe in its quest to educate people about water safety.

"Our airport boats and hovercraft are often out on the Manukau Harbour helping boaties so we're big fans of the work WaterSafe Auckland do to educate people about staying safe.

"As we head into the busy holiday season at our airport, we're delighted to support a charity that's keeping people safe while they enjoy time out around the water," Auckland Airport's general manager of people and safety Anna Cassels-Brown said.