Entertainer Oscar Kightley discussed his inspirational attempts to learn to swim as an adult as a keynote speaker of the International Water Safety and Aquatic Education Conference in Queenstown, which ended on Saturday. Supplied photo.
Oscar Kightley says he has no problem entertaining audiences
of thousands of people, but swimming ''still kind of freaks
The Samoan-born, New Zealand-raised award-winning actor,
television presenter and writer said he had not been able to
swim his entire life.
When Water Safety New Zealand heard last year, the
organisation approached with an offer to teach him in
exchange for his raising awareness of the issue and the
publicity of his efforts to learn to lead other adults by
Kightley regaled delegates of the International Water Safety
and Aquatic Education Conference in Queenstown on Friday with
why he could not swim, its impact on his life and why he is
so determined to ''conquer that mountain'' in one year, after
a few false starts over the past 20 years.
Learning to swim was never considered a priority among family
and friends in either island nation, he said. It did not stop
him fishing with friends on boats, or hanging out on the
''The pool was somewhere you went for holidays, somewhere to
splash around, when you weren't at the movies,'' Kightley
''It's surprising how common that is. The more I talk to
people about it I realise a lot of adults can't swim and
since I've been publicising it, I've been approached by
adults who said the same thing and who are encouraged to
start to learn.
''Trouble is, as you get older, you think there's no point in
learning that stuff, but actually, there's still a lot of
value to be gained, especially when the beach or the river
are such a part of the activities here.''
The ability to swim could save your life, or someone else's,
''Something as important as swimming should be like breathing
and walking, just one of our basic tools we have in our tool
kit to help us through life.''