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Published: 2012-03-01 00:00:00

Rotokauri School, Waikato Regional Council and Water Safety New Zealand are partnering up in a water safety awareness event for almost 200 pupils.

It will involve sailing 20 model boats down the Waikato River from the Wellington Street ramp to Memorial Park in central Hamilton.

The event – from 10am till noon on Thursday 8 March – is part of a week-long series of activities organised by the school aimed at raising river, water safety and conservation awareness.

The involvement of the council and Water Safety NZ came after discussions between the school and the council over the best way to run the event.

The council granted the school a temporary event permit to use the river. The 20 boats to be floated down will be selected by council staff during a competition at the school on 7 March.

Before the boats are launched, pupils will get a briefing on water safety and rules from the harbourmaster and other council staff.

Once the model craft reach Memorial Park, they will be scooped up by parents, council staff and Ruben the road safety bear.

Water Safety NZ is providing 200 swimming satchels, caps and goggles for the pupils.

“We’re really pleased to be working with Rotokauri School and Water Safety New Zealand in this way,” said the council’s navigation safety programme manager Nicole Botherway.

“It’s a really fun way of getting across some serious water safety messages.”

Rotokauri’s principal Mark Goodson said it was great to be combining with the council on lifting his pupils’ water safety awareness and all round knowledge about water.

“Water recreation is a key part of New Zealand life. We want our kids to know how to use the water safely and the involvement of the council and Water Safety New Zealand in our day will help ensure it’s a success.”