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Giving Up Holiday Time For A Good Cause

23 January 2001 Media Statement


Minister of Internal Affairs Hon George Hawkins said the participation of more than 1000 volunteers this month in Water Safety New Zealand’s special learn to swim event highlighted the willingness of New Zealanders to give of their time for a good cause.

The two-week Lotto Take the Plunge programme, which concluded on Friday, took place at swimming pools all over the country.

The programme introduced more than 11,000 people to the basics of learning to swim.

“Knowing how to swim is an essential life skill for all New Zealanders,” George Hawkins said.

“We must recognise that our drowning toll is high and understand the importance of having good swimming and swimming survival skills.

“The success of the event is a tribute to the volunteer instructors who gave up holiday time to ensure that all those children and adults who wanted to become adept at swimming had the opportunity to participate,” George Hawkins said.

This year is the International Year of the Volunteer: "The enthusiasm and commitment shown by the volunteers engaged in the programme demonstrate the willingness of Kiwis to help each other out."

Since this annual programme began more than 70,000 participants have taken part along with some 7000 volunteer instructors.

Without the involvement of the volunteers most people would not have had an opportunity to learn basic swimming skills.

“I want to recognise the contribution of these volunteers and thank them for it.

"I also want to thank Lotto and Water Safety New Zealand for developing this ongoing delivery of an event that provides New Zealanders with a vital skill they can utilise throughout their lives," George Hawkins said.


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