A woman who nearly drowned at Mount Maunganui beach recalls the heartbreaking moment she made her peace with God and expected to die.

The woman, known as Siniua, was filmed at the beach this week retelling how she went for a swim with family on Friday but realised too late she had gone too far.

"I tried my best to come back but ... too strong, the waves were really strong. They smashed me everywhere. They picked me up, they smacked me down.

"Then I gave up and I said to God, 'I'm gone. I can't do it. I give up'."

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Siniua wept as she explained, "and then I came back up and I heard someone say, 'Hey, I'm here to save you' ".

As she talks, Siniua is greeted by the then off-duty police officer Debbie Harries, who tells Siniua she was one of several people who helped rescue her.

Overcome with emotion, Siniua breaks down saying, "Thank you, thank you so much."

Auckland and Bay of Plenty police shared the video on their Facebook pages yesterday in an effort to thank the other mystery rescuers involved.

Harries works as a sergeant for Auckland police but was on holiday at Mount Maunganui. No one knows who the other rescuers were.

Tauranga woman Siniua reunites with the police officer who saved her life at Mount Maunganui beach. Photo / Supplied
Tauranga woman Siniua reunites with the police officer who saved her life at Mount Maunganui beach. Photo / Supplied

Harries could not be reached yesterday but a police media spokesman said she was on her way to a cafe "when she heard screaming from the beach and saw the woman in trouble".

"She instinctively ran down to the beach, took her outer clothes off and swam out to rescue her."

The spokesman said someone else also swam out to rescue Siniua and got there first.

"Sergeant Harries instructed the man to put the woman on her back and together they started to tow her when they were joined by another male and female in the water who also helped bring her back to shore."

Siniua was put in the recovery position on the beach by a nurse who came to help.

"We want to acknowledge the amazing efforts of the three good Samaritans who also swam out to rescue [her]. Unfortunately, they left the scene before police staff were able to speak to them but we would love to identify who they are so we can acknowledge their amazing efforts," the spokesman said.

Siniua declined to comment further on her ordeal.