Food, donations and offers of help are pouring in to support
the family of a boy killed after a hole he was digging in the
sand collapsed and suffocated him.
Paris Mohio Remus, 7, died on the Pataua South beach known as
Frogtown, 35km north east of Whangarei, about 1.30pm on
Beachgoers, including members of his family, tried to
resuscitate him, as did emergency services workers who
arrived at the beach, but he could not be saved.
As news of the death spread, the community at Whangarei Heads
responded by donating food and money to his family.
Janet Hill, who works at Parua Bay School and knows the
family, said she had started collecting the donations.
"There has been a fabulous response from the community out
here. I have been inundated with phonecalls from people who
want to help," she said.
It was through a Facebook group called "Whangarei Heads
People"that the offers came flooding in. "People I didn't
even know were asking how they could help."
Paris was not a student at Parua Bay School.
A relative said the freak accident had shaken the family.
A police iwi liaison officer said a local kaumatua had
blessed the scene on Sunday afternoon after the death. Paris'
body will be at Ngunguru Marae from today ahead of his tangi.
Paris' sister Hine wrote in a funeral notice: "Paris will
never fall apart because he's always in my heart."
The Northland tragedy bought back memories of a near-fatal
incident at Karekare Beach, northwest of Auckland, in October
2012. Alia Bland and Shalema Wanden-Hannay were on the beach
when they came across a teenager trapped underneath sand.
"We tried to pull his legs and it was like pulling on
concrete. His legs were kicking and we were screaming for
others to help."
They estimated the teenager had tunnelled about 2m into the
side of the sand dune before the sand collapsed on him.
"It was really scary. We were calling to people at the
carpark to help but many just stopped and watched - I think
they thought we were joking around." After about six minutes,
the women and the teenager's older sister managed to get the
youngster out and, miraculously, he came to.
Mrs Wanden-Hannay of the Karekare Surf Lifesaving Club said
more awareness was needed of the dangers of digging in the
"I believe they should be part of school-based beach
education ... and I'd like to see sand collapses on beach
signage containing other safety messages, such as falling
rocks, large waves and rips."
Safety tips in sand
* Never dig large holes or tunnels on the beach.
* Teach children the dangers.
* Always fill holes or tunnels you may come across on the
* Recognise that people respond differently in emergencies,
so give clear instructions when delegating.
- Vaimoana Tapaleao of the New Zealand Herald and Northern