River rescuer amazed at new-found fame

ANNA WILLIAMS
Last updated 09:09 13/06/2014
Awatere Valley Rd
DEREK FLYNN/FAIRFAX NZ
DYNAMIC DUO: River Rescuers Jeremy McKenzie, left, and Marlborough Boys College Head Boy Angus Pauley.

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The girl who was pulled from a flooded Taylor River in Blenheim on Wednesday has sent a ‘thank you' card to one of her rescuers.

"Thank you Angus for saving me. You rock, my hero!!" It was signed by Tenishya.

Marlborough Boys' College head boy Angus Pauley arrived home from school yesterday to find the card signed by Tenishya McIsaac, 12, and her classmates at Bohally Intermediate.

"I was stoked," Angus said. "I'm just glad she's doing OK."

Bohally Intermediate principal Andrew Read said the year 7 pupil was back at school yesterday and was "very popular" with her classmates.

"She's a very lucky girl and it was great to see her," he said.

Angus was also back at school and said it was just a normal day after making national news when he dived into the raging river and pulled out Tenishya with help from Blenheim man Jeremy McKenzie. He got a bit of good-natured flak from his mates, and a lot of praise from his fellow students and teachers.

"My dean said to me ‘That's a feeling that will never leave you. You'll have that for the rest of your life - the knowledge that you saved someone's life'," he said.

"That really touched me."

He was surprised by how much interest there had been in the story and never imagined he would get any recognition like what he received, he said.

On Wednesday night he appeared on Seven Sharp on TV1. A camera crew came from Nelson and he was hooked up to an earpiece and talked into a microphone.

"I've never done anything like that before," he said. "I was a bit nervous but apparently it turned out OK. You're just staring down the barrel of a camera."

Marlborough Mayor Alistair Sowman planned to hold a ceremony to present Angus and McKenzie with framed certificates to recognise their bravery.

"An act of bravery like that needs to be fully recognised."

He was also looking at nominating the pair for recognition by The Royal Humane Society, a charity that assesses and awards acts of bravery in the saving of human life.

"The criteria states all rescues and attempts, accompanied by personal risk, and that was certainly the case," Sowman said.

The last Marlborough person to receive a Royal Humane Society bravery award was Marlborough man Mack Pouwhare, who rescued three children from under live power lines after a car crash in Spring Creek in 2008.

Sowman said he was "very, very proud" of both Angus and McKenzie. "It was extremely heroic, a selfless act to save the life of a little girl."

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The Marlborough District Council planned to investigate the near drowning.

Council assets and services manager Mark Wheeler said council would be meeting with police to find out what happened.

They would also discuss whether any extra precautions needed to be put in place around the Taylor River when it was flooded, he said.

"I do think everyone is aware there are many access points to the Taylor River walkway and it would be very difficult to close every one of them every time the river rises," he said.

Katie Broome, the partner of Tenishya's father, said Tenishya, who does not know how to swim, was going the same way she went to school every day.

Police said the outcome could have been very different if the two men had not been there.

- The Marlborough Express

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