Two Australians were among 16 children who last week spent
part of their summer holidays completing a week-long water
safety course at the Wakatipu High School Pool.
Run by Wakatipu Swim School teacher Jane Hughes, the course -
which was free and open to children aged 10 and above -
centred on teaching children about being safe in the water in
various situations, rather than learning to swim.
Included in the first intake were siblings Georgie (11) and
Sam (9) Ward, of Sydney.
Georgie said her family was in Queenstown on holiday and her
mother had been looking for holiday programmes for them.
The children often went swimming, but had learned more than
they expected during the course, including information they
were keen to pass on to their father.
''Dad has a kayak but he never goes out in it - he wants us
to go on it, but he doesn't know the safety rules. Now we can
Mrs Hughes said there was space for up to 30 children for
One began yesterday, the next begins next Monday and the
final course on January 27.
The Water Safety New Zealand-funded courses are free of
Included were kayaking skills, understanding rivers and how
to read them, learning what to do in a rip, information about
hypothermia, an ''ABC'' of CPR, and what to do if they fell
out of a boat or were in a sinking boat.
On Friday, the fully-clothed children immersed in water were
told the ''Earnslaw has sunk'', and quickly learnt how
to survive in the cold waters of Lake Wakatipu.
After swimming 50m, they then had to go back and find
lifejackets, fit them while in the water, before adopting the
''help position'' and the independent floating position.
They then created huddles and removed themselves from the
For many it was their first time swimming in clothes and gave
them a better understanding of the weight of garments, and
what they could do if they faced the situation in real life.
''This is about survival and having fun,'' Mrs Hughes said.
from 10am-noon Monday to Friday, are open to children aged 10
and over, at any level of swimming ability. To register, text