Greater Auckland Aquatic Action Plan

Greater Auckland Aquatic Action Plan (GAAAP) is a collaborative project that coordinates 8-10 professionally delivered Water Skills for Life lessons to primary school children in the greater Auckland region, ensuring the development of fundamental water skills for life.


It is targeted towards low decile schools (1-6) and Year 3-6 students (7-10 year olds) and delivers approximately 153,000 lessons per year to 21,000 students, covering 152 decile 1-6 schools.

The project also has a professional development focus for teachers and swim instructors to help them develop the knowledge to deliver water safety education in the pool and classroom. To view what professional development opportunities are available click here.

GAAAP is managed by Aktive – Auckland Sport & Recreation in partnership with Water Safety NZ, with regional coordination undertaken by Regional Sports Trusts. GAAAP is funded by Sport NZ (KiwiSport), Foundation North and Water Safety NZ.


What our children learn

Traditionally, there has been a focus on learn to swim programmes in New Zealand. The assumption has been that if you learn to swim, you have the necessary basic skills to survive in the water.

Research papers, surveys, practical evidence from other parts of the world, as well as advice from New Zealand water safety sector experts indicates that the acquisition of a combination of water safety and swimming skills resulted in a reduction in young children drowning.

Based on this evidence, Water Safety NZ has found that there is a need for a greater emphasis on teaching water safety skills prior to stroke and distance focused swimming skills, and that offering exposure to a range of aquatic environments (such as rivers and cold open water where most New Zealand drownings occur) is a crucial part of water safety skills learning.

Water Safety NZ has also identified a need to establish a more consistent national approach to the teaching of water safety skills.

Why is this important?

Water safety continues to be a critical issue for New Zealand. Drowning is the fourth highest cause of accidental death in New Zealand and drowning related hospitalisations have been increasing year on year for over a decade

Sadly, our Maori and Pacific Island communities and 5-13 year olds are over-represented in drowning statistics. We want our children to be better prepared and able to safely enjoy the water in their homes, in pools, at the beach, rivers or lakes, and while enjoying boating and other water based recreational activities. Swim & Survive skills are essential for our children, especially with Auckland being surrounded by water.

How we measure results

All children/schools that participate in the programme are recorded on a national database that reports on impact and swim achievement outcomes. Baseline and progression data is recorded during a students’ first and last lesson and is monitored throughout their GAAAP journey. Data is uploaded and a series of reports are used to analyse in greater detail the swim skill ability of each individual child, class, school and region (Auckland, Harbour, Waitakere and Counties Manukau). Collectively, Aktive reports on the Greater Auckland region.

Want to become involved?

Contact the programme coordinator in your region or the programme manager and they will be able to provide you with additional information on how to become involved.

GAAAP targets primary schools in decile 1 to 6 and children in years 3 to 6. Lessons are delivered by qualified, trained swim instructors in either a school, council, community, portable or private pool facility.

Aktive – Auckland Sport & Recreation

Jacqui Johnston – Project Manager

Find Your Field Of Dreams

Mike Ibbertson

Sport Waitakere

Pauline Butt

Sport Auckland

Georgina Gatenby

CLM Counties Manukau

Lynn Cartwright

Harbour Sport

Jenny Lim


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