A new water safety campaign in Hamilton is urging teenagers to “Manu With Mana” this summer.
Hamilton City Council aquatics director Liz Cann told the Waikato Herald the goal was to build safety awareness, especially for those who swim in the Waikato River.
“There are some popular swimming spots along the river. From Hamilton City Council’s point of view, the preference is for people to swim in swimming pools instead, but the reality is that people swim, fish and boat on the river.
“We plan to make sure these people are educated on the dangers and what to do if they get themselves into a situation.”
The council received funding from Water Safety New Zealand to develop the Manu with Mana campaign.
She said the campaign was marketed to teenagers because that was the group that use the river the most.
There will be signs installed, designed by Drowning Prevention Auckland to provide information about the hazards in the river.
The council has employed city safe officers who would patrol the river during summer.
“They are not there to be lifeguards, but they are there again to reinforce the safety messaging and educate people.”
If a swimmer did get into trouble the officers had buoyancy devices they could throw to them, from the side of the river.
The council was also giving away a PS5 to those who took part in an online survey.
Tips for safe swimming in the Waikato River
Dont swim alone
Swimming with others means there is someone there to help if you get into trouble. Drowning takes less than a minute, so having a mate on shore could save your life.
Know your limits
That river current can move quickly. How well can you swim? And where’s your exit point? Try to jump so you float downstream to your exit point, instead of battling the current up to it. Have a backup plan if you miss your exit – where’s the next best spot to get out? If you’re tired, take a break. Look after the little ones too, sometimes they do too much.
Respect the river
The Waikato River is powerful, don’t underestimate it. She stops flowing for no one, and drowning can happen to anyone.
Manu with Mana
You can still have fun, swim and pop manus all summer long. It’s simple stuff – just do your safety checks, keep an eye out for each other, and koorero with your mates about how to stay safe.
Top tip: Hand signals
Our friends at Splash Unit know how to Manu with Mana. They use simple hand signals to communicate after a jump if they are ok, or need help.
If you’re ok = closed fist on top of your head
If you need help = closed fist, hand raised in the air
Stay up to date with the Waikato Herald
Get the latest Waikato headlines straight to your inbox Monday to Saturday. Register for free today - click here and choose Local News.