Wai (water) is central to Māori culture, yet Māori have disproportionately high rates of drowning in Aotearoa. The need for a Māori water safety programme for whānau Māori is an urgent one. Here, Māori researchers will work alongside Tangaroa Ara Rau – a collective of national Māori water safety practitioners and researchers - and three Māori communities, utilising a kaupapa Māori approach to develop a Māori water safety programme. It will be tested, adapted and re-tested according to regional differences and preferences. We will also create a folio of evidence to inform advocacy for free water safety programmes for whānau. With a team of emerging to mid-career Māori researchers, this work will benefit communities and the Māori health research workforce. Furthermore, this research will contribute to Water Safety New Zealand's goal of zero drowning for Māori and all New Zealanders.