St John Celebrates half a million Kiwi kids trained in saving lives


Hundreds of thousands of clever little life savers are emerging across the country.

St John educators in Wellington have today trained the 500,000th ASB St John in Schools participant at St Patrick’s Primary School in Kilbirnie.

Through this programme, which is sponsored by ACC and ASB, St John has been training young New Zealanders in first aid, CPR, bandaging, responding to emergencies, injury prevention and disaster preparedness since 2015. The programme is also available in Te Reo for all kura and kohanga reo.

St John Director of Community Health Services, Sarah Manley says ASB St John in Schools is aimed at equipping children with the skills and confidence to take action in an emergency situation.

“We are committed to building resilient and connected communities and recognise that children of all ages can play a significant part in improving the health and wellbeing of their communities.

“St John receives over fifty 111 emergency calls from children every month, often calling in highly distressing situations for a parent or loved one who has fallen, is unconscious, or is having convulsions. We believe every child in New Zealand should learn first aid, so they have the courage and ability to respond in these circumstances and ultimately save a life; in fact, we know that through this programme, children have saved lives,” says Ms Manley.

ASB has sponsored the programme since September 2016. Its Head of Community and sponsorship, Mark Graham says, “For ASB St John in Schools to have reached half a million Kiwi kids is an amazing milestone, and one we’re incredibly proud of.

"We have heard a number of stories from young New Zealanders who have gone through this programme and then used these skills in an emergency situation, so we know how valuable it can be.

"We believe that basic first aid skills are something every New Zealander should know, and teaching kids this from an early age sets them up to be able to take action in an emergency.”

The ASB St John in Schools programme was developed by St John in partnership with ACC, Safekids, Civil Defence and other external partners. It is delivered in modules with each school choosing the units it wishes to complete.

ACC Head of Injury Prevention, Isaac Carlson says, “This programme is a wonderful example of our community partnerships. Knowing how to prevent injuries is a lifelong skill and now half a million Kiwi kids know how to keep themselves and others safe.”

Today’s milestone was marked with a celebration at St Patrick’s Primary School, which involved a CPR challenge and a first aid quiz between adults and students. Every participant of the programme was gifted with a first aid kit from ASB and the 500,000th participant was presented with a certificate.   

St John has a goal of delivering the ASB St John in Schools programme to a total of one million New Zealand students (pre-school through to intermediate) by 2023. It is also continuing to push for the teaching of CPR and lifesaving first aid skills to be made compulsory under the national school curriculum. In the future, St John plans to pilot mental health first aid modules for young people in schools.

Primary schools interested in the ASB St John in Schools programme can find out more and contact St John online at



About ASB St John in Schools programme

  • The ASB St John in Schools programme provides pre-school and school-aged children with the skills and confidence to take action in response to an emergency situation.
  • St John Community Educators teach young people first aid basics and knowledge to take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing, along with those around them.
  • St John tutors teach different skills to different age groups offering four modules: Responding in an Emergency, Injury Prevention, Disaster Preparedness and Camping.
  • St John Community Educators have taught in Maori and Samoan immersion classes.
  • Short educational videos for assisting in learning have been developed.
  • With support from ACC, the common goal is to deliver to a total of one million New Zealand students (pre-school through to intermediate) by 2023.



Beverley Tse

St John Communications Advisor

M 027 318 1553


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