New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) has launched a new Swim School initiative in association with Swimsation through its NZRL Playgroup programme. NZRL is now offering complimentary swimming lessons to pēpi and tamariki in an effort to continue prioritising our communities in need.

Swimming and especially water safety are essential life skills for Kiwi kids. Aquatic facilities exist in almost all major towns; coupled with the endless access to coastal beaches, lakes and rivers; New Zealand kids are exposed to water dangers from a young age.

Despite swimming competency being crucial for our tamariki, many existing swim school programmes are too expensive for those in our communities. With the cost of living continuously on the rise, many families can not financially prioritise swimming safety.

Water Safety New Zealand reported in 2020 alone, New Zealand had a total of 74 drownings; out of these 74 fatalities, 28 were Maori/Pasifika.

Because of this, we have recognised the need to support our tamariki better when it comes to water safety, ensuring these skills are more easily attained and water safety education is more accessible to our communities.

These new Playgroup Swim Schools offer pēpi and tamariki free swimming lessons during the day and weekends at select Swimsation pools. At this level, parents or guardians are required to be in the pool with their children.

A Playgroup mother said she enjoys being able to learn beside her child and grow together. “I am more confident with taking him to the pools now, and the fact my son is learning to swim makes me feel better knowing he will be safer around water.”

An NZRL Playgroup father of five said due to financial restrictions, he has never had the opportunity to take his older children for a swimming lesson. Now thanks to Playgroup, his younger two tamariki have the chance to learn these essential life skills.

To find out more information on where you can enrol your child into an NZRL Playgroup, please contact;

Toyah Brooking |

Swim School Learning Objectives

Confident using hip hold

Confident using up-right hold

Confident using front prone hold

Confident using side prone hold

Confident using cradle hold

Confident using supported back hold

Knows the Swimsation submersion cue

Show signs of readiness for submersion

Confident being submerged (Assisted by parent) – Level goal to move up

Safe entry

Safe exit

Standing jump with submersion assisted

Assisted submersion and pick up a toy

Assisted submersion with a release

Confident using extended back hold

Back float with supported back hold

Back float with supported extended back hold

Submersion with release and grip – Level goal to move up

Submerge and pick up toy

Assisted back kick

Unassisted back kick

Assisted front kick

Unassisted front kick

Assisted front to back rotation

Unassisted front to back rotation

Assisted front to back rotation – Kicking

Unassisted front to back rotation – Kicking

Jump into pool and roll onto back assisted

Jump into pool and roll onto back unassisted

Seated jump and u-turn to wall

Submerge, float and u-turn to table – Level Goal to move into our preschool level class