A mother has been hailed a hero after she drowned trying to save her son yesterday.

The dead woman, named as Lita Tarau by friends, saw her son get into trouble at Thornton Beach near the Whakatane Golf Course at about 5pm. She is believed to have suffered a cardiac arrest when she rushed into the water.

Meanwhile, at Waihi Beach, two 12-year-old cousins pulled an Asian man out of the water.

They performed CPR until an ambulance arrived.


Senior Sergeant Rod Carpinter of Waihi Beach Police said: "Despite the victim lunging at the boys the pair managed to get him under control and one boy swam ashore to raise the alarm with adult passers-by before swimming back out to assist his cousin in bringing the man ashore."

Carpinter said he would be consulting senior police managers about the most appropriate way the boys' actions could be formally recognised. "Remembering, these boys are only 12 and are slightly built, the victim was a lot larger than them so what they were able to do is worthy of high praise indeed."