Within a very busy schedule for Rob Hewitt in Kāpiti next week will be a surprising first visit to Kāpiti Island.
Hewitt spent 72 hours in the sea outside Mana and Kāpiti Islands during February 2006 before his rescue from the sea, but has never been ashore on Kāpiti Island.
‘On my second day in the water I was closer to Kāpiti than Mana Island, and I ended up on the western seaward side of Kāpiti before the currents took me back again. That side of the island looked pretty treacherous to me, and I wondered, if I got close enough, whether I would be able to come ashore anywhere. But I was out too far.’
You can’t see much from in the water and a long way out, but if the weather on Monday or Tuesday is good enough, Hewitt may get to see it from the comfort of a boat, as John Barrett of Kāpiti Island Nature Tours hopes to give him the chance to revisit the western side of the island.
Rob Hewitt is visiting the Kāpiti Coast to present his story and his water safety messages to close to 3500 children with Kāpiti Kids Motivation Trust. Kāpiti Coast Deputy Mayor Roger Booth, who organises and facilitates the trust visits, will join with Hewitt to relate his story and associated message to young people from seventeen Kāpiti Coast schools in fifteen presentations across four days.
‘We were fortunate to have Shaun Quincey, who had rowed alone across the Tasman for the first time, come to Kāpiti with KKMT a couple of years back, and the children were entranced by his account. Rob has another dramatic Tasman story to tell, and is passionate about his message about water safety.
‘Rob sees himself having been given a second chance that most don’t get, and he is determined to inspire children to learn about water safety, if not to learn to swim. He is very keen to make sure, when we get our new aquatic centre next year, that all schools can get their children to one of our three pools to learn water skills. Some of those lessons could be at our special new facility, even for Ōtaki schools.’
Hewitt will feature with his story at a Kāpiti Kids Motivation Trust fundraising session at the Otaihanga Boating Club at 7pm on Tuesday evening 21 August. Tickets for $12 are available at Placemakers, Raumati Pharmacy, or by ringing Roy (2988737), Ralph (2973323) or Bill (021 2116772).no