Eyewitness reports wife desperately tried to save husband with fishing rod as pair die when swept off rocks at Auckland's Muriwai Beach

Two people are dead after being swept off the rocks at Auckland's Muriwai Beach this afternoon.

At around 2pm today police were called to Muriwai Beach after reports of two people being swept off rocks.

Police say a man and woman have been recovered from the water.

Source: Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust

A witness at the scene has told 1 NEWS that the man fell into the water first. The woman with him used her fishing rod to try and help him out, before she was dragged in herself. 

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

The second patient, a woman also in her 40s, 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.

Muriwai Beach. Source: 1 NEWS

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

Shane Jones dismisses 'pretentious' hapū proposal for 30 metre-plus Auckland statue: 'Pay for it yourselves'

NZ First MP Shane Jones has unleashed on a proposal to erect a 30-metre plus statue of a Maori earth goddess on Auckland's Bastion Point, labeling it a "pretentious gesture" of "cultural mimicry".

Yesterday, it emerged that Auckland Council had set aside $1 million in it's 10-year budget, for design and development of a statue of Papatūānuku the Earth Goddess, in a project that had been proposed by Ngāti Whātua Orākei.

Mayor Phil Goff described the project to NZ Herald as having the "potential to be an iconic symbol of Auckland".

However, today speaking to Stuff, Mr Jones ripped into the proposal, questioning the "exclusive rights" Ngāti Whātua Orākei had to promote the earth goddess, and saying it was completely unreasonable for Auckland ratepayers to contribute to it.

"The notion that the ratepayers of Auckland should foot the costs for this cultural mimicry promoted by the Ōrākei hapū is risible," Mr Jones said.

"We need to bear in mind that the Maori up at Ōrākei do not have an exclusive rights to promote a statue in the form of the earth goddess on behalf of anyone other than themselves.

"If they want it for themselves then they should spend their own money and not misrepresent the broader Māori community that a statue, in the form of Christ the Redeemer out of Brazil, is an appropriate expression of Māori identity, or indeed New Zealand identity.

"If such a pretentious gesture is their long-term ambition then pay for it yourselves."

However, Ngāti Whātua Orākei spokesperson Ngarimu Blair said approval from the landowner of Bastion Point where the statue is slated, Ngāti Whātua Trust, had not given approval for the proposal, and it was still in "early days" of planning.

Mr Jones also questioned the spending priorities of Auckland Council with their $1 million contribution, and that he was "astounded" there was "spare change to give to Māoridom's richest hapū" as the Auckland fuel tax rolled out. 

"The word Papatūānuku means earth goddess, what are they thinking erecting some massive planet? I would say to you, culturally speaking, their thinking is off the planet," Jones said.

The Regional Economic Development Minister and Associate Finance Minister said far more "rigorous discussion, debate and agreement" with all Auckland stakeholders was needed before the proposal could take any step forward. 

The new Regional Economic Development Minister said out of work Kiwis could be planting trees, instead of migrant workers.
Source: 1 NEWS


Watch: Drone footage shows large slip brought down by heavy rains in Coromandel

Drone footage shows the large task at hand for workers clearing a slip off a section of highway in the Coromandel after wild weather hit the region yesterday.

The video shows two diggers clearing dirt and debris off a hill over SH25a between Kopu and Tairua as cars cautiously make their way past below.

People faced a long drive home from a weekend spent holidaying in the Coromandel as slips and flooding cut off many of the main routes out of the region yesterday afternoon, causing major traffic backlogs for those travelling to Auckland.

The NZ Transport Agency has given updates on the road closures today, saying that SH25a has now reopened with stop/go signs and SH30 in the Kawerau area has also opened.

State Highway 2 through the Waioeka Gorge is also open today after being closed as a precaution.

Parts of State Highway 25 were closed yesterday as slips and flooding hit the region. Source: 1 NEWS