Burmese community creating new Muriwai rocks warning signs after pair drown at Auckland beach

A community has come together to create new warning signs at Muriwai Beach after a Burmese pair died while fishing on rocks yesterday.

A man and a woman, who were not wearing lifejackets died after being swept off rocks while fishing at Muriwai yesterday afternoon.

Both were pulled from the water but one died at the scene and the other in hospital, police said.

Muriwai Volunteer Lifeguards chairman Tim Jago told Morning Report the Muriwai beach, along with most of the beaches on the west coast, were well signposted about the dangers of waves and slippery rocks.

"Sadly these people had to actually walk right past one of those signs to get to where they were," he said.

He said he had found out the man and women were Burmese - a nation which has several different dialects - and that the signage did not necessarily signal to them the dangers.

"None of the signage addressed their particular requirements and [the Burmese community] offered to help us to create signage for their community. It's news to me that they're very frequent visitors to the west coast for rock fishing."

However, he said that signs and warnings were a part of the safety process and fishers needed to always carry appropriate gear.

"We're frequently telling people to get off the rocks but the biggest piece of advice and message that we're constantly giving ... is to educate the rock fishers that they've got to have floatation devices with them and wearing them," Mr Jago said.

"Now the sad thing as a matter of fact yesterday is these people were wrapped up against winter conditions and once they were in the water it was never going to be a happy outcome.

"They just had so many layers of clothing on that it was impossible for them to swim."

Rodney Local Board chairperson and fire brigade volunteer Phelan Pirrie said people continued to ignore the many warning signs about the beach's dangers.

Water safety group Drowning Prevention said that often cash-strapped families saw rock-fishing as a cheap way of gathering food - because all that was needed was bait and a rod.

Drowning Prevention spokesperson Harry Aonga said there were concerns over the lack of understanding on the dangers of West Coast beaches.

"The risk itself is quite deadly. And just the power of those waves, and if people aren't aware of, I guess, the conditions when they go out there, then they're putting themselves at risk."

Despite this, Mr Aonga said the number of fatalities had drastically decreased in the past twelve years, thanks to a project aimed at stopping people fishing off rocks without proper safety equipment.

"It started in 2006. There were a spate of drownings at that time, with five people that drowned off the rocks at Muriwai so from then we started the rock fishing project to encourage more people to wear life jackets."

Documents on the Drowning Prevention website showed in 2005 there were nine rock fishing fatalities, whereas in 2017 that number went down to zero.

While that was a win, he said, the two deaths at Muriwai show there was still a way to go.

Mr Aonga urged everyone heading onto the rocks to wear a lifejacket.

"It would interrupt the drowning process because it would give you time to float and make decisions and then ... if you're in the water for quite a long time it would give you time for a rescue team to come grab you."

A man and a woman were pulled from the water around 2pm this afternoon. Source: 1 NEWS



Auckland boy’s family races against time to raise money for life changing surgery

Isaiah Young dreams of one day walking without mobility support.

He has a condition called spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy, which causes tense muscle spasms in his legs.

As Isaiah gets older his muscles get tighter and his legs are starting to bend permanently.

The nine-year-old from Auckland has been put on the short list for Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy, or SDR, surgery which could help him walk, but he needs to travel to the US to have it done.

His family doesn’t get any financial support from the government, so they’ve been constantly fundraising to make Isaiah’s dream come true.

Tagata Pasifika reporter Taylor Aumua met with the Young family to talk about how their endeavour to fundraise is going.

Tagata Pasifika met Isaiah Young who is hoping to go to the US for surgery on his spine. Source: Tagata Pasifika

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Winter chill impacts real estate sales volumes across NZ, but house prices continue to rise

The number of houses being sold has dropped with the onset of winter this year, but the frosty conditions have done nothing to make homes more affordable and diminish price rises.

The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) has released their real estate data for the month of June today, with the median house price across the country rising 5.7 per cent to a record equal median of $560,000 - up from $530,000 the same time last year.

Despite this price rise, the number of properties actually sold across the country decreased in June by 1.6 per cent.

There were 6,034 houses sold in June 2018 compared to 6,131 in June 2017.

REINZ attributed this difference to significant decreases in sales volumes in eight out of 16 New Zealand regions and a 9.9 per cent decrease in new property listings year-on-year.

Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) data June 2018. Source: REINZ

Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) data June 2018. Source: REINZ

New Zealand's most expensive three territorial authorities were Auckland City with a median of $1,010,000, North Shore City with a median of $975,000 and Queenstown Lake District with a median of $908,000.

However, Auckland's median price actually decreased by 0.7 per cent year-on-year to $850,000 down from $856,000 last year.

New Zealand's median price excluding Auckland remained at a record equalling figure of $460,000 in June - up 7.0 per cent on June 2017.

Three regions saw record median prices during June 2018 – Waikato (+11.7 per cent to $525,000), Wellington (+12.3 per cent to $595,000) and Marlborough (+11.4 per cent to $440,000).

Other regions with strong annual increases included Gisborne (+26.9 per cent to $330,000) and Hawke’s Bay (+15.3 per cent to $430,000).

REINZ chief executive Bindi Norwell said the data reveals a "two-tier market" across New Zealand where prices are remaining stable in Auckland and Canterbury but rising in most other parts.

Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) data June 2018. Source: REINZ

"While Jack Frost may have got his icy grip on sales volumes, he has not been able to extend this to prices as New Zealand’s median price increased by 5.7 per cent year-on-year," Ms Norwell said.

"The lack of housing supply continues to put pressure on prices in the majority of regions across New Zealand, with 12 out of 16 regions seeing a price increase since June last year.

"Until we solve the supply issue, house prices are likely to continue rising, particularly as the OCR remains low and the banks continue dropping interest rates.

"From a volume perspective, we’ve seen the usual winter slowdown impact the market. Sales volumes fell significantly year-on-year on the West Coast (-25.7 per cent) which was the lowest sales count for 14 months, Waikato (-14.0 per cent) also the lowest sales count for 14 months, Wellington (-10.6 per cent) the lowest number of properties sold for 5 months and Otago (-8.3 per cent) the lowest sales count for 11 months.

"Despite this, there were some regions that saw a strong increase in sales including Hawke’s Bay (+23.0 per cent), Tasman (+22.8 per cent) and Manawatu/Wanganui (+14.1 per cent)."

Real estate, housing Source: 1 NEWS