Kapi-Mana News : January 24th 2012
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HAD AN ACCIDENT? We can help with any ACC disputes you may have. Contact the experts 04 8015621 or 04 9312611 or email us email@example.com www.jmlaw.co.nz JOHN MILLER LAW we also deal with criminal law queries 6 Hagley St, Porirua ACC NOT ACC NOT WORKING WORKING FOR YOU? FOR YOU? 4140499AA 3646159AB ‘Strong on Prevention’ New Clients Welcome Phone: 232 7146 or call into 223 Main Road, Tawa www.bingdental.co.nz Drownings hit Pacific families The drowning of 24-year-old Samoan man Albert Alapati last week was a local example of the tragic relationship between Pacific people and drowning. ANDREA O’NEIL finds out why the Pacific community is over-represented in drowning figures and what is being done about it Grim search: Police divers search for drowned Porirua man Albert Alapati’s body last Tuesday. His body was found on the shore at the south end of Titahi Bay beach on Thursday. CONTINUED Page 5 ➤ DROWNINGS IN PORIRUA ■ 6 people have drowned in Porirua’s waters since 2001 ■ They were all men ■4diedonbeaches,1ina public pool and 1 in a river ■ 2 of the victims were pakeha, 2 Maori and 2 Pacific Islanders ■ 123 people drowned in New Zealand in 2011, 5 in the Wellington region, none in Porirua. ■ National drowning rates have halved since 1980 Source: Water Safety New Zealand The statistics don’t lie: Pacific Islanders are dying in the water. Pacific people are over- represented in drowning stat- istics, making up 7 per cent of New Zealand’s population but accounting for 9 per cent of the country’s drowning deaths. Maori also have high rates of drowning, making up 17 per cent of drowning deaths while represen- ting 15 per cent of the population. Pakeha have far fewer drownings per capita by comparison – 62 per cent for their 68 per cent share of the population. Porirua deputy mayor Liz Kelly is a family friend of the Alapatis, and urges the Pacific community to get water wise before another drowning occurs. ‘‘We shouldn’t wait until there’s a tragedy. We have had enough of them. We know there’s too many of our kids that don’t know how to swim, and a lot of adults, too,’’ she says. ‘‘I just wouldn’t be in that mother’s shoes for a million dollars.’’ Cannons Creek’s Fanau Centre, which Ms Kelly manages, has run a school holiday programme swimming course for a year now, catering for more than 60 chil- dren, but it’s not enough, she says. ‘That’s just meeting a little need. It would be really cool if there were other agencies that jumped on the idea as well.’’ Ms Kelly is in talks with police to approach Telecom or Vodafone with a mass text messaging cam- paign, sending water safety messages straight to young people’s cellphones. ‘‘Just reminding people to be wise around the water.’’ She is also keen to push ahead with signs at Titahi Bay beach, where Mr Alapati drowned, warn- ing swimmers about rips and teaching them how to recognise a rip. ‘‘We really need them up now, while summer is here.’’ The signs should also display the surf club’s phone number, as valuable time was lost trying to contact lifesavers when Mr Ala- pati got into trouble, she says. No body of water is safe, how- ever. ‘‘You should be careful around water at all times and it doesn’t matter how deep the water is, either. ‘‘Look at that guy who drowned in a drain recently. You don’t need a lot of water to drown,’’ she says. ‘‘Just remember that water is a hazard. While we might enjoy it, it’s a hazard.’’ Money is a key reason for lack of swimming skills in the Pacific community, water safety advocate Lepeti Tea says. The cost of transporting children to swim- ming lessons and the fees them- selves put parents off, but water skills education is vital to turning around drowning rates, she says. ‘‘I want to get the Pacific com- munity to start forking out and make it a priority.’’ A free water skills workshop has been organised by Ms Tea in response to her growing concerns about Pacific people drowning in recent years. ‘‘Late last year I just thought ‘you know what, something’s got to be done’.’’ She contacted Water Safety New Zealand, who has contracted her to expand Auckland’s Pasifika water education programme to Wellington. Families are invited to Cannon’s Creek Pool on Janu- ary 28 for a day of fun activities emphasising safety in rivers, around rips and while snorkelling. ‘‘It’s about teaching people to have the skills to survive in the water,’’ Ms Tea says.
January 17th 2012
January 31st 2012