The Sunrise Foundation in Gisborne has established an endowment fund for Swim For Life Tairawhiti (SFLT) to help them as they improve water safety statistics for the Gisborne region.

SFLT delivers swim and survival education to primary school children throughout the Gisborne District, from Manutuke to Potaka.

Carl Newman, SFLT Trust Manager says that their programmes are designed to help children become confident and safer in the water.  “The swimming ability of children in our region has declined in recent years.  Our goal is to reverse that trend and help our region work towards a consistent record of no drowning.”

Programmes are targeted at low decile schools where parents are often unable to support extra-curricular activities such as swimming.

Paul Evans, SFLT Trustee has been involved in swimming and water based activities in Gisborne for many years and is passionate about aquatics. He joined the board of SFLT as he believes that teaching water safety to our children is imperative in a region such as ours.

“We live in coastal New Zealand and have easy access to beaches, rivers and waterways. It is vitally important that all of our children have the opportunity to learn the fundamental skills required to not only increase their enjoyment of our aquatic environment, but also make them safer.”

SFLT was established in 2015 and since that time has delivered swimming lessons to over 2,800 children each year, with their delivery programme ahead of the national median this year, a very promising start for the fledgling organisation.

To help fund the programme the SFLT board has established the Swim for Life Tairawhiti Endowment Fund with The Sunrise Foundation.

Sunrise, a community endowment foundation, was launched by The Warehouse founder Sir Stephen Tindall in October 2014. Although new to New Zealand, community foundations are the fastest growing form of philanthropy worldwide and have been operating for over 100 years in North America.

The strength of the endowment fund is that all donations are invested and the capital is protected. The interest from the investment is returned to SFLT every year, less a small amount which is retained to ensure that their fund grows in line with inflation.

Isaac Hughes, SFLT Chair says that even though they are focussed on delivering their programmes to Gisborne children now, they are also working to ensure that future generations are kept safe.

“The fund will help with our ongoing fundraising efforts as we teach kids to swim now.  The great thing is that it will also continue to support water safety education in the future.”

Glenda Stokes, Sunrise Executive Officer believes that the SFLT Endowment Fund will have a positive long term impact on the Gisborne Districts drowning statistics. “Small community organisations such as SFLT desperately need an ongoing reliable source of passive income. SFLT know that as their fund grows they can rely on that annual income to help them continue their important work.”


She added that “donors like the idea that their donation is protected and inflation proofed so that it will keep on working for SFLT forever.”