Hero­ines hon­oured

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By JOE DAW­SON

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.

In cel­e­bra­tion


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.’’

it just


Visit cen­tral­leader.co.nz and click on Lat­est Edi­tion to read Kelly Bleak­ley’s full speech, in­clud­ing an ac­count of the res­cue.

Self­less gal­lantry:

Sab­rina Par­sons, left, and Amo­hia Afeaki have been awarded the Gilt Cross for gal­lantry af­ter res­cu­ing two adult swim­mers in Jan­uary.

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