NSW community mourn heroic Kiwi who saved boy

NSW community mourn heroic Kiwi who saved boy

The Wellington woman who saved a young boy's life after he was washed off rocks in northern New South Wales (NSW) is being hailed as a hero.

She wasn't a strong swimmer but Aggie Auelua didn't hesitate, jumping into wild surf to save the nine-year-old.

Her actions are being praised on both sides of the ditch.

The Fingal headland is as beautiful as it is treacherous – the tributes to the selfless act that cost Ms Auelua her life are testament to that.

It's a popular spot to take in the sunset, and at dusk on Saturday she decided to do just that. The 25-year-old from Lower Hutt went with her friend's two children and her partner's son.

A massive wave crashed onto the rocks, sweeping one of the children into the surf. Ms Auelua dived in to save him.

"It was extremely heroic, as were the other passers-by that jumped in, and also we had a female police officer that jumped in and swam about 100 metres to help out," says NSW Police Inspector Mick Dempsey.

Ms Auelua managed to keep the young boy afloat for several minutes before help arrived. But by the time crews reached her, she was unconscious.

"Unfortunately the circumstances at the time were very treacherous in and around the rocks, there were large waves impacting the rocks, with large backwash," says Surf Lifesaver Jimmy Keough.  

Paramedics, lifesavers and off-duty doctors performed CPR, but she later died in hospital.

"It's a very tragic event. It could have been far more tragic with the loss of another life," says Mr Keough.

Ms Auelua moved to Australia after she left high school in New Zealand.

"Obviously everyone is upset, it's a small community down at Fingal and everyone knows each other," says Insp Dempsey.

Those who know Ms Auelua say she died how she lived – doing anything for those close to her.

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