Stay safe in the water this summer with Westpac Rescue Rashies

New Zealand has a water safety problem. In 2022 there were 94 drowning fatalities - the largest annual loss of life in New Zealand waterways for the past decade. Eight of those drownings were children under the age of ten. These tragic deaths are devastating to families and communities. 

Westpac NZ is supporting Water Safety New Zealand to help keep our tamariki safe in and around water this summer. Kiwis love the water but few of us are confident when it comes to performing CPR in an emergency situation.  

Idyllic summers spent at the beach, river, or pool is part of the Kiwi way of life, and keeping ourselves and others safe is paramount to enjoying the many activities on offer. 

Being prepared, looking after each other, knowing your limits, and being aware of dangers such as rips or currents are all key for staying safe in the water. However, if a drowning incident does happen, it’s crucial to know how to perform CPR.  

A survey of 1,142 Westpac customers showed that while 63 percent have plans to spend time around the water this summer, around half are not confident enough to perform CPR. 

Prompt initiation of CPR is vital if a person is unresponsive and not breathing normally and should not wait until a medical professional is on the scene.  

To help people remember how to perform CPR and provide emergency guidance in a drowning situation, Westpac are gifting 1,000 rashies to Kiwi kids through the Water Skills for Life programme. 

For each customer who opens a new 8-month Term Deposit with the bank, Westpac will donate* a Rescue Rashie to Water Safety New Zealand.  

The Rashies are designed to fit children aged 2 to 8, and unzip to reveal CPR instructions, providing potentially life-saving information in an emergency. The Rashies are also brightly coloured to help caregivers keep an eye on children in the water, and are long-sleeved and UPF50+ for sun protection for those long sunny days on the beach. 

Westpac New Zealand General Manager of Product, Sustainability and Marketing, Sarah Hearn, says the bank is stepping up to help keep Kiwi kids safe, with a total of 1,000 Rashies to donate this summer. 

"We all have a part to play in keeping our tamariki safe around water, and participating in our term deposit offer, or purchasing a Westpac Rescue Rashie, gives people the chance to directly support a cause that’s important to so many of us," Ms Hearn says.

"Each time a child puts on a Westpac Rescue Rashie, not only are they highly visible and safe from the sun, they're providing valuable lifesaving information for their caregivers. 

"Kids and their parents also tell us they look cool as well."

The Rashies are also available for the public to buy, with the full $25 price going to a local rescue helicopter service of the customer’s choice. Westpac has donated or sold more than 10,000 Rescue Rashies since 2019.  

Water Safety New Zealand CEO Daniel Gerrard says the donated Rashies will go towards kids participating in its Water Skills for Life programme, which gives young people the knowledge they need to build life-long skills.

"Empowering our youth with water safety skills is fundamental to creating a safer future. Westpac's generous partnership not only equips our children with vital knowledge but directly supports our 'Water Skills for Life' programme. Together, we're fostering a culture where every kiwi kid not only enjoys the water but respects and understands its dangers. These Rescue Rashies are more than just a garment; they're a beacon of safety and education." 

Westpac Rescue Rashies are on sale now. Purchasers can choose to buy an additional Rashie at checkout to be donated to the Water Skills for Life programme.

We're also on a hunt to find our next Westpac Rashie Reporter who will represent the Tamariki of New Zealand, reporting on water safety across Newshub. If you think your child could be the future Westpac Rashie Reporter enter here

Article created in partnership with Westpac NZ.  

*One donation per Westpac customer. Donations capped at 1,000 Rescue Rashies nationwide.