'Humble' teen drowns at Hunua Falls

By Cherie Howie, Vaimoana Tapaleao

Peter Iakopo Lemalu,  also known as Paulo,  was dedicated to his family, friends and faith, his family say. Photo / Supplied
Peter Iakopo Lemalu, also known as Paulo, was dedicated to his family, friends and faith, his family say. Photo / Supplied

A teenager who died while swimming at a popular Auckland waterfall has been remembered.

Peter Iakopo Lemalu, also known as Paulo, is being remembered by his family as a young man who loved his family and friends - and above all, his faith.

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Body found in search for teen at Hunua Falls

A relative, Cecilia Sagote, told the Herald they were devastated at the sudden loss of their son and brother.

"He was a good student at De La Salle [last year] and a humble soul who loved being with his Mormon church youth group.

"That's how it was when he died. We'll miss him dearly."

The 17-year-old was with a small group at Hunua Falls, south of Auckland, on Saturday evening when he got into difficulty in the water about 6pm.

Two members of the public and a friend tried to help him, but were unsuccessful.

Peter's friend was injured in the rescue attempt and was airlifted by the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter to Middlemore Hospital. He was discharged last night.

A young woman who was with Peter at the waterfall revealed on Facebook the harrowing attempt to get to him.

"I tried so hard. I gave it everything I had. I love u, baby bro."

His family was yesterday gathering to mourn the youngster, who was a proud old boy of De La Salle College in Mangere.

He had completed Year 13 last year.

Ms Sagote said the teen doted on his four siblings and their mother, Fae'e Iakopo, particularly after their father died almost 10 years ago.

- NZ Herald

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