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Bravery recognised by Mayor Bob Harvey

Media Release

May, 27, 2009

Bravery recognised by Mayor Bob Harvey

Heroism tinged with tragedy has been recognised with the awarding of a certificate for bravery to a man who lost his life trying to save his son.

At a formal Waitakere City Council meeting earlier this evening, Mayor Bob Harvey presented an In Memoriam Certificate on behalf of the Royal Humane Society of New Zealand to the family of Kafoa Ngauamo.

On January 30, 2006, the Ngauamo family were enjoying a day at Green Bay Beach on the northern shore of the Manukau Harbour.

Mr Ngauamo’s 10-year-old son, Moteiva, had been paddling in the shallow water but ventured out in to chest deep water and soon got in to difficulty. Unable to swim and with the tide coming in the youngster had become stuck in the mud.

A good swimmer, Mr Ngauamo swam out to his son, wrapped his arms around him, freed him from the mud and pulled him out of the water.

The boy was rescued with help from passer by Donna Kitchener, but the celebration soon turned to heartache as Mr Ngauamo himself was sucked deeper into the mud.

Unable to free himself, the incoming tide rose over his head and tragically he drowned.

“This is an absolute tragedy,” Mr Harvey says.

“My heart goes out to Mr Ngauamo’s family whose joy at having their son still with them is tinged with the utter sadness of Kafoa losing his life in such circumstances.”

The Mayor also presented Donna Kitchener with a certificate for her brave efforts in helping rescuing Moteiva.

Also at the Waitakere City Council meeting tonight, Mayor Harvey presented a Certificate of Merit from the society to Senior Sergeant Garth Stockley for his part in saving two swimmers in trouble at the notoriously dangerous Piha Beach last year.

The off duty policeman had been bodysurfing at the popular West Coast beach on March 22 where three swimmers were being swept along the beach by a strong current and big waves.

One of the swimmers managed to get to shore and Mr Stockley noticed one of the trio struggling to hold on to another person in the huge surf.

Mr Stockley reached a teenager in the surf struggling to hold on to another male and keep his head above water.

Fearing the worst Mr Stockley helped the teenager drag the unconscious man to shore while being battered and knocked off their feet by the large waves. He administered first aid until emergency services arrived and airlifted the patient to hospital, where he recovered.

“This is another example of ordinary people doing extraordinary things for others,” says Mayor Harvey, who himself has been a lifeguard on the West Coast for more than 40 years.

The Royal Humane Society of New Zealand bestows awards on those people who risk their lives to save the lives of others in peril.

© Scoop Media

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