Memory Kimiora Peu, 52, who drowned on Monday afternoon, has been remembered as a “hero”. Photo: Supplied.
A mother who drowned attempting to save her 11-year-old daughter has been hailed a “hero”.
Zealander Memory Kimiora Peu, 52, died at Arorangi, on the western side of
Rarotonga, on Monday afternoon (Cook Islands Time).
been attempting to help her 11-year-old daughter Angelina, who was being swept
out by the current.
Utia, who lives in New Zealand, told Cook Islands News: “My mum Memory would do
anything for her children. She was definitely a hero”.
our home, and we all have such a strong bond with mum. This was definitely
displayed putting her life first to save her daughter, my sister Angelina, from
being pulled from the current,” Utia said.
“My mum is
a strong person, and I know she fought and used everything in her power to come
back to shore, and to come back to her children. But unfortunately, nature took
her from her friends and family.
“My mum is
one of the bravest people I know. She is so kind and loving, and has the
biggest heart. She was the lady of our home, and she will be deeply missed by
friends and family.”
police received a distress call about 2.24pm, by which time local volunteers
had been mobilized, including a neighbouring resident with a boat, and a dive
people were on hand to help, including ambulance staff, Puaikura volunteer fire
brigade, police volunteers and ambulance staff.
spokesman Trevor Pitt said the deceased was recovered from the oceanside just
before 4pm on Monday, some distance to the south of the jetty, after being
swept out through the passage.
“We have of
course been impacted by the drowning tragedy, a sad incident that affects the
whole community, even the Police, who have a difficult job to do,” Pitt said.
tragedy scars us all with sadness but especially the families who should be
enjoying every happiness, during the holidays.
We certainly convey our sentiments of condolences but continue with our
messages of safety around the roads and the beaches.”
spokesperson left a message on social media saying: “We are heartbroken with
her sudden and unexpected passing, but will continue to honour her legacy of
love and compassion”.
left very big shoes for us to fill, however we will forever be thankful for
everything she has done and sacrificed for us,” the message says.
already deeply missed by her family and friends in the Cook Islands, New
Zealand, Australia and America. We are all extremely proud of this beautiful
woman and spiritual soul.
been an absolute privilege to have been part of her colourful and wonderful
life. She made us feel like we were capable of accomplishing the impossible.”
her funeral are yet to be confirmed.
in Rarotonga, Akaoa MP Robert Heather said there needs to be better coordinated
emergency responses, saying the response to the drowning event could have been
who was called to the emergency, said “to put it bluntly, the response wasn’t
as coordinated as it should have been”.
“I was the
first one on the scene. Police were attending to the daughter. I was contacting
those who needed to be contacted.
response was too slow, and no one had much of an idea as to who was leading
it,” Heather said.
who was a disaster management coordinator from 2009 to 2018, said this was the
first drowning he had ever responded to.
with finding people who have got lost, or people affected by cyclone damage,
but this is on another level,” he said.
a good bunch of people in the Puaikura Volunteer Fire Brigade, who were the
first responders to this incident. But hopefully this event will give us all
the kick up the backside that’s needed.”
said there were about 40 members of the mother and daughter’s extended family
near the beach, as there was a family reunion taking place.
panic, shock, and hysteria when they found out what happened,” he said.
said he was waiting for a report on the incident, which would then go to Government.
definitely issues that need to be ironed out, and there are a lot of lessons to
be learned,” he said.
said there needed to be a look into the Cook Islands response to emergencies,
mentioning last week’s Raro Tours Bus Crash as an event that could have been
“much worse”. The crash resulted in two
people being treated for minor injuries.
“That crash was an eyeopener in terms of the lack of coordination,” he said.
Barbara Te Awhitu on 06/01/2023
I am saddened for this families loss on such a beautiful island. Much love to the family xo
I am also saddened that Heather has used this article to make “I” statements and at a time of great loss for this family. Especially when everyone that attended this tragedy would have been doing everything in their power to help.
Please - if there needs to be changes to emergency responses then do it in the right manner and place