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In February 2015 the School hosted a symposium on water safety in New Zealand and Australia. The symposium drew academics and professionals from both countries. The School was honoured to host such a strong group of experts and renowned speakers.

Topics discussed during the one-day symposium included:

  • Water Safety New Zealand's water safety plan and its challenges
  • Moving competently in water
  • Māori, empowerment, water safety and surf lifesaving
  • Aquatic risk management and evidence-based decision making
  • A southern approach to Māori water safety
  • River crossing
  • Bondi's Black Sunday
  • Cold water immersion
  • Rip currents
  • Methods, assumptions and theories in water safety research.

Refer to the final programme for further information


Professor Doug Booth, University of Otago, “Bondi's Black Sunday: The Clubbie as Hazard"

Associate ProfessorMike Boyes, University of Otago, “River Crossing Revisited: Bushcraft Instructors' Beliefs and Values"

Professor Rob Brander, University of New South Wales, “The Rip Current Hazard: Recent Lessons from Australia”

Associate Professor Chris Button,University of Otago, “Moving Competently in Water: What Really is Fundamental?”

Associate Professor Jim Cotter, University of Otago [in association with Chris Button (University of Otago), Carl Bradford (Sports Institute of Singapore), David Gerrard (University of Otago), Sam Lucas (University of Birmingham)], “Do We Have a Sufficient Feel for Cold Water Immersion?”

Dr Anne-Marie Jackson and Dr Hauiti Hakopa, University of Otago, and Hauteruruku (Hinerangi Ferrall-Heath, Brandan Flack, Suzi Flack, Waiariki Parata-Taiapa, Samantha Jackson, Ron McLachlan, Hoturoa Kerr), “One Day a Waka for Every Marae: A Southern Approach to Māori Water Safety”

Nick Mulcahy, Coastal Research Ltd, and Surf Life Saving New Zealand, “Aquatic Risk Management and Evidence-based Decision Making: Hunua Falls, Auckland Region”

Associate Professor Richard Pringle, University of Auckland, “A Concluding Dip: Methods, Assumptions and Theories in Water Safety Research”

Corey Sweeney, Water Safety New Zealand, “The Water Safety Plan and its Challenges”

Renee Wikaire, University of Otago, “Ngati Porou Surf Life Saving Incorporated: Māori, Empowerment, Water Safety, and Surf Lifesaving”


Papers presented at the symposium will be published in the Physical Educator, the official journal of Physical Education New Zealand (PENZ) in 2016.


Sincere thanks to staff from the School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences for their technical, logistical and administrative support.

Professor Douglas Booth
Dean, School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Science

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