THE holiday heroics of best friends Sabrina Parsons and Amohia Afeaki has landed the teenage Sea Scouts with a rare accolade.
While holidaying in Northland in January the 15-yearolds, who are now 16, rescued two adult swimmers struggling in a rip at Matauri Bay, north of Kerikeri.
They were first on the scene and used their boogie boards to help keep the men – one weighing around 150kg – afloat and breathing until help arrived.
their efforts the girls have been awarded the Gilt Cross for gallantry, which the head office of the Scouts organisation has no record of awarding here before.
The pair’s efforts grabbed the attention of the media, including the Central Leader which featured the tale of their heroics in January.
Sabrina is from Onehunga and attends Auckland Girls Grammar while Amohia lives in Mangere Bridge and goes to Te Kura Maori o Nga Tapuwae.
They met through the Aotea Sea Scouts as 8-yearolds.
Their award was
pres- ented at a special ceremony at the Auckland area regatta by New Zealand Scouts national commissioner Kelly Bleakley.
Mrs Bleakley was standing in for the country’s top Scout, Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae, who was abroad.
‘‘After reading the nomination form for these awards it was clear that from all accounts both Amohia and Sabrina deserved high recognition for their actions in rescuing the two men for a number of reasons,’’ Mrs Bleakley said in her speech.
‘‘One is their young age, that at 15 years old they acted with maturity and courage well beyond their years.
‘‘They knowingly put themselves at risk, not recklessly, but for the good of others.
‘‘They used skill and knowledge that they had gained about the sea and first aid.
‘‘They acted calmly with composure, in a highly stressful situation. And they are held responsible for preventing two possible fatalities.’’
The humble girls tend to downplay their part in the rescue but the Gilt Cross makes it hard to argue with.
‘‘We were quite surprised,’’ Amohia says of learning they would be honoured in this way.
‘‘We’re happy but it feels like our effort was not that great but in the end two people are still living today so it’s a pretty big thing.’’
Sabrina said in January that she only did what she hoped anyone else would do for her. She still finds the resulting fuss amusing.
‘‘It’s hard to explain – it happened at the beginning of the year which seems like ages ago but everyone mentions it,’’ she says.
‘‘It’s a big thing, doesn’t feel like it.’’
Visit centralleader.co.nz and click on Latest Edition to read Kelly Bleakley’s full speech, including an account of the rescue.
Sabrina Parsons, left, and Amohia Afeaki have been awarded the Gilt Cross for gallantry after rescuing two adult swimmers in January.