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Downward trend in New Zealand drownings
90 people - mostly men and including eight pre-school children - drowned in New Zealand in 2014.
The number is trending down - 107 people died in 2013 - but New Zealand remains one of the three worst countries for drowning in the developed world, according top Water Safety New Zealand Chief Executive Matt Claridge.
Claridge explains "disappointingly, adult men continue their terrible track record making up more than 76% of all drownings."
In 2014, 69 males drowned and 21 females.
Of the eight pre-school deaths Claridge says the ongoing increase in the numbers in this age group drowning is a huge issue that requires more work, more education and more attention.
He adds "no pre-schooler should be drowning and we won't be happy until this is achieved."
Rivers were the biggest killer accounting for 20 deaths, while the number of beach deaths halved to 11 from 22 in 2013.
Clardige believes "this is a reflection of the great work being done by organisations such as Surf Lifesaving New Zealand and hopefully, an indication that the safety messages are getting through."
18 people drowned in inland still waters, 16 offshore and 14 in tidal waters.
A third of the drownings were immersion incidents, where people had no intention of entering the water, which highlighted the need for people to learn swim and survival skills.
Seven people also drowned in New Zealand waters during the official Christmas holiday period (24th December to 5th January) - two deaths more than the same period last year.
Claridge says it’s a huge disappointment that the drowning toll is so high.
Six of these fatalities were men.
Claridge concluded "if New Zealand's terrible drowning toll is to come down it requires a huge change in culture and behaviour.
"The water safety sector is working together to drive this change but communities, whanau and individuals all need to step up and say let's improve on our poor track record and stop the drownings once and for all."
For more information go to www.watersafety.org.nz/
21st January 2015 - GROWING INEQUALITY MEANS MORE CHILDREN AT RISK IN THE WATER
17th December 2014 - LINKS MODULAR SOLUTIONS LAUNCHES NEW SENTAG ANTI-DROWNING DEVICE
9th July 2014 - NEW ZEALAND HALF YEAR DROWNING TOLL LOWEST ON RECORD
9th August 2011 - WATER SAFETY NEW ZEALAND ELECTED TO AUSTSWIM
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