Water Safety New Zealand

Swim Reaper

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Young men in New Zealand love doing dumb stuff. That’s why they make up more than one third of preventable drownings.

Their lives could be saved if they just made smarter decisions around water. But this cynical audience react badly to being told to be safe. So, instead, we encouraged them to be as dumb as possible.

The Swim Reaper is a contrary character, with a seriously black sense of humour. He spent his summer popping up at swimming spots all over New Zealand and posting his exploits to Instagram and Snapchat. His mission? To claim as many lives as he could, by encouraging young males to be stupid. As it turns out, his efforts simply drew attention to all those behaviours that lead to death. So, while young guys normally make up a huge proportion of drownings, this year was different. Over the peak summer period, drownings of young men totalled zero.

Lives were actually saved by encouraging deaths.


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