Tragedy yields 'good thing' Pat Miller, the driving force behind Operation Flotation, and Far North Surf Rescue chairman Dave Ross at Saturday's launch."A good thing has come from a really bad thing," Pat Miller said when Operation Flotation was launched at Cable Bay on Saturday.
The installation of flotation devices at Taipa, Cable Bay, and Cooper's Beach was the community's response to the death of 54-year-old Wairongoa Renata when he went to the rescue of a number of children who were caught in a rip at Cable Bay on January 2, a spokesman for his whanau saying Saturday's ceremony was a sad occasion, but the family were delighted by and grateful for the community's efforts to make Doubtless Bay's beaches safer.
Those living across SH10, above the beach, were the kaitiaki, he added, and would hopefully look after "our families."
The flotation devices were placed in wooden stands made by Far North District Council contractor Recreational Services, two of them on the beachfront at Cable Bay, one at Taipa (opposite the resort), and two at Cooper's Beach, at the carpark and outside the San Marino Motel, Ms Miller saying this was just the start, and that much there was much more work to do yet.
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Each of the devices had cost $255, delivered (from the US) and marked with information regarding their and what to do in an emergency in both English and te reo.
Mayor John Carter congratulated all involved, and particularly Ms Miller (who said she was just one of many. Ngati Kahu, Doubtless Bay businesses and the wider community had all supported the project strongly).
"We are here this morning because you care about your community," Mr Carter added.
"This is a wonderful example of a community getting together and making something happen."
He had been involved in a similar community effort in Rarotonga, while he was serving as High Commissioner to the Cook Islands, and hoped the initiative would spread around the country, and undertook to promote that in Wellington.
"That's the best thing I've heard all day," Ms Miller replied, but he was going to have to be quick to beat Far North Surf Rescue chairman Dave Ross, who said he would be in Wellington this weekend for a Search and Rescue conference, and would be speaking about it there.
He would be happy to accept any volunteers who wished to learn lifesaving skills for training, he added.