Kiwi man drowns in front of his five children in Australia

A Kiwi man has drowned in front of his five children while paddleboarding in Australia.

Seti Tuaopepe, 35, was drowned at a newly opened inland ‘beach’ after spending his last moments holding one of his sons above water, it has been revealed.

Mr Tuaopepe had been paddleboarding with his children when they fell into the water, the Daily Mail reported.

It is understood Mr Tuaopepe held his children above water until a rescuer arrived at around 2.35pm on Tuesday but was unable to save himself. 

NSW Police divers and a Toll rescue helicopter were called in as part of the extensive effort. 

Mr Tuaopepe’s body was found about 6.15pm, about four hours after he went missing. 

Reports said  Mr Tuaopepe grew up in Samoa, studied in New Zealand and moved to Australia for work.

Tributes to Mr Tuaopepe began pouring in on social media. 

‘You were kind, silent and a very gentle classmate,’ one friend wrote on Facebook.

‘You were a family man … condolences to your wife, children and family. Rest in peace and in the loving arms of our Lord.’

Penrith beach officially opened last week, immediately gaining the nickname Pondi after the famous eastern suburbs Bondi beach, and received mixed reviews from visitors.

A NSW government website bluntly lists what is not allowed at the beach including riding bikes, getting dropped off by a family member and even visiting without a booking – with some slamming the rules as ‘un-Australian’. 

A New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) spokesperson told Newshub they are aware of reports of a New Zealander drowning in New South Wales.

“We have not been contacted by anyone for assistance,” the spokesperson added.

Australian police said a report would be prepared for the Coroner.

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