The woman who drowned while saving her daughter from the sea at Ruakaka will be buried overlooking the beach she loved.

Fiona Gooder died on Sunday afternoon only 30 minutes after texting her husband Bruce Martin to say she was "having a fantastic time in paradise".

After Ms Gooder's funeral at One Tree Point on Friday, she will be buried at Waipu Cove cemetery overlooking Ruakaka Beach and Bream Bay, in a plot her husband has chosen because "it is so beautiful and I know she would think so, too".

Ms Gooder, 43, had been enjoying the beach with family and friends when she sent the last text message to her husband who was on business in San Francisco.


When her 8-year-old foster daughter Arly and a friend got into trouble, Ms Gooder and others raced into the water to save them.

Her friend Emma Thacker and others fought against the turbulent, unusually high tide to get Ms Thacker's child from the surf, then turned back to help Ms Gooder who was in obvious trouble, face down in the water with Arly clinging to her back.

The rescuers grabbed Arly but powerful waves continued to sweep Ms Gooder under. By the time she was pulled from the water she had already taken in too much water.

Ms Thacker phoned for help but, fearing St John Ambulance would take too long, called her husband who was working at nearby Refining New Zealand. The refinery's paramedics were at the scene within minutes and worked on Ms Gooder for 15 minutes before the St John crew arrived, Mr Martin said.

His wife could not be revived.

Mr Martin said he could not thank Ms Thacker enough for saving his daughter after she had also saved her own child, then staying with his wife.

Mr Martin said the beach and the Ruakaka community were a big part of the family's life, and his wife would be missed.

On Monday teachers and children from Ruakaka Primary School, where Mr Martin is on the Board of Trustees, held a blessing at the beach.