How we started
A brief history
Little Makos Swim School is owned by Sarah Chambers, a former National League water polo player who has been a high performance coach with New Zealand Water Polo since 2002. Sarah's whānau has a passion for swimming and a long association with Berhampore School. When the school pool had been closed for many years they seeded the idea to reopen it with a swim school.
Little Makos is a community partnership between Berhampore School and Harbour City Water Polo Club.
In 2007 the Berhampore School pool was one of several around Wellington that had been closed for many years following a change in water quality regulations which made many school pools unviable. Sarah and her family were concerned that a generation of local children were missing out on the opportunity to learn to swim. They had also noticed a drop in the number of water polo players through their club due to fewer children having the skills to take part in the sport.
Sarah looked into the cost of reopening Berhampore School to run a swim school. To bring the pool up to standard they would need to raise $80,000.
In 2007 they secured $25000 from Wellington City Council and $20000 from New Zealand Community Trust. This was enough to upgrade the pool and open for outdoor swimming lessons six months of the year. Following construction works the pool opened in 2008, and four years later the business was able to fund a roof to cover the pool. Since 2012 the school has operated year-round and now over 1000 learners have lessons at the pool each week including school groups. The majority of the teachers have been water polo players and having this employment opportunity has strengthened the Water Polo club.