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Karakia at Muriwai beach

Posted by SCe Comments Off on Karakia at Muriwai beach

muriwai karakiaAt 8 pm this morning (28 February 2012) a large sombre group gathered at Muriwai Surf Club. They were there to say karakia to make safe the medical room and IRB that had held the body of Adam Strange, the swimmer who had been taken by a shark. Strange’s widow, small daughter and other family members were there, as were many people from the local community, police, park rangers, elected members from Auckland Council¬†and surf club members.

Led by kaumatua Glen Wilcox, the men and women from Reweti Marae, led the sad procession around the building, touching the walls. Karakia were said and waiata sung.

Then the group slowly went down to the beach, to the point where Strange’s body was brought ashore. More karakia were said to lift the tapu and the green branches the mourners had been carrying were cast into the water. It was bright and sunny belying the sad event that had brought these people here.

Adam Strange was swimming about 200 metres off-shore, training for an event, when he was attacked by the shark. Though not a lifesaver, he had supported the building of the new clubhouse by running film evenings to raise funds.¬† The new clubhouse was opened on Saturday 23 February and the retrieval of Strange’s body was one of the first tasks lifeguards had had to perform since that date.

Muriwai beach will remain shut until the end of Friday. Other West Coast beaches are now open.

Although the performance of police and lifeguards was exemplary, the death has revealed that the lifeguard service in New Zealand lacks protocols for responding to shark attacks. Not surprising as this is the first shark fatality for over 40 years. On Wednesday, lifeguards sought the advice of their counterparts in New South Wales. Surf Life Saving Northern Region has now said it will develop a protocol for Auckland.


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