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Survey finds Kiwis won't swim in rivers because they're too cold

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

There’s evidence in a new survey released today by the Swim Fresh campaign, that New Zealanders have gone soft.

The Horizon poll in December of 1100 New Zealanders found that while we spend a lot of time by fresh water, few of us swim in them.

79% of respondents reported having visited rivers and lakes at least once in the past year. But 62% of respondents said they had not even swum once in fresh water.

Swim Fresh campaign boss Mark Blackham said it was heartening to see so many New Zealanders enjoyed at least one visit to a stream each year.

"If you really care about rivers, challenge yourself to a bracing swim this summer.

One third of those who visited over the previous year went more than once a month, and another third once every two months. The other third went fewer than five times in the previous year.

The small number of swimmers is an intriguing discovery, given the considerable attention given to the issue of "swimmable" water quality.

The most cited reason for not swimming is that the water is too cold (32%), followed by concern about water quality (29%). Yet another 24% of Kiwis say swimming in rivers is not even a thing they consider.

On a positive note, the more often Kiwis visit waterways, the more likely they are to swim (about 3 swims for every 10 visits). Yet those who visit waterways are also more likely to cite concern about quality as a reason for not swimming.

"What we see in the data is that the more often you visit our fresh waterways, the more you care about them, and the more likely you are to go for a swim."

Swim Fresh is a not for profit campaign proudly conceived, organised and funded by BlacklandPR; staffed by students at Massey University Wellington School of Communication, Journalism, and Marketing; and aided by Eighty One and Loop.

Visit www.swimfresh.org.nz for information on the data cited in this release.

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