Couple who drowned at Auckland's Muriwai Beach were refugees with nine children, one grandchild

The two people who were swept off rocks at Auckland's Muriwai Beach yesterday afternoon and drowned were a refugee couple from Burma who leave behind nine children and one grandchild.

Today police confirmed to 1 NEWS that Kay Dah Ukay, 48, and his wife Mu Thu Pa died while fishing off the rocks at the beach on the west coast.

Police also confirmed the couple had nine children.

A witness at the scene told 1 NEWS a man, Kay Dah Ukay, fell into the water first. The woman with him, Mu Thu Pa, used her fishing rod to try and help him out, before she was dragged in herself.

NZ Herald reports that the couple's three youngest children aged 13, 9 and 7 were with the couple when the accident occurred. 

Another daughter of the couple Dah Htoo Ukay, 25, told NZ Herald her father had been dragging in a catch when he slipped on the rocks and fell into the surf. 

"When they went fishing they got a big fish and tried to take it out," she said.

"He was slipping on the rock and fell in the water.

"My mother also tried to hold the rod. My younger sister tried to grab my mother, but she fell in the water too."

The remaining children reportedly then called for help.

A spokesperson for the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter says they were dispatched to the scene around 2.15pm yesterday and were told one of the patients, a man in his 40s, had drowned before they arrived.

The second patient, a woman, was receiving CPR when the rescue helicopter arrived.

After a period of time, despite all efforts to save her, the patient was confirmed deceased as well, the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter spokesperson said.

The Burmese couple and their older children had escaped from Burma into Thailand 20 years ago.

The family resided in a refugee camp on the Thai/Burmese border for the next 10 years.

They were resettled in New Zealand in January 2008.

Seven of the nine children of the couple are still living in the family home in Henderson.

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