The father-in-law of a woman who died after falling into the water on a West Auckland beach says it was the most tragic day for his family.
The woman has been named as Anisa Ghaniza. She had arrived from Afghanistan in January, after a successful visa application by her husband, Noorullah Habibi.
Habibi was an Auckland University student and the couple had only been recently been married, according to a Stuff report.
Noorullah couldn't join Anisa and the rest of the family for a beach outing on Tuesday because he had a mid-semester exam to prepare, but told his wife "better go rather than stay home" because he would be busy working.
The couple had been engaged for years and had planned for a large traditional wedding, but opted for a small ceremony because of the worsening Covid-19 pandemic.
Noorullah's father, Askar, an interpreter for the NZ Defence Force in Bamiyan province, mother Soghra and one of his two younger brothers were at the North Piha Beach where they had a picnic lunch.
Askar told Stuff he and a friend were looking after the young children while the women chatted beside a walkway.
When the women arrived at the top of the hill, they saw Anisa's body in the water. By the time they rushed down, other beachgoers and lifesavers were pulling her out of the water.
Askar posted on Facebook: "The most ever tragic days for my family [sic]."
A Surf Life Saving Northern Region spokesman told the Herald the alarm was raised around 3.15pm.
Inflatable rescue boats from Piha and Bethells, each carrying two lifeguards, headed out on the water, pulled Anisa from the water and began CPR once they got back to the beach.
"Sadly attempts to revive the person were unsuccessful and they have died at the scene," police said in a statement.
A Surf Lifesavers spokesman urged beachgoers to take extreme care at Auckland's west coast as the beaches could be very dangerous when the surf was running high.
Anisa's death was one of six major incidents attended by surf life savers at West Auckland beaches; six people were saved and two died.
Anisa was believed to have been on a rock close to the water and fell in when a large wave crashed over her.
She had been learning English through a specialist refugee class at Selwyn and had dreams of becoming a make-up artist.