11-month-old Tongan dies after falling into water race in Rolleston

    Totolo ha ki'i pēpē 'a ha fāmili Tonga 'o ne tō 'i ha fakatafe'anga vai 'i  Rolleston, 'i he faka-Tonga 'o Christchurch 'i Nu'u Sila.

    by Tom Kitchin, Stuff

    An 11-month-old Tongan child has drowned after falling into a water race in Rolleston, south of Christchurch.

    Eleven-month-old Samuel Taufaeteau​ managed to crawl from the front door of the home in Tennyson St and all the way to the front of the garden before tumbling into the shallow water way.

    He was rushed to hospital in a critical condition but died a few hours later on the afternoon of September 30.

    Samuel’s aunt, Lola Tupou, told Stuff the front door was unlocked.

    The child was found by relatives a short time later and was taken to Christchurch Hospital in a critical condition, but later died.

    “One of the kids opened [the door], he crawled all the way there.

    “We’re just so sad at the moment. We’re trying to move from this house, we don’t want to stay here anymore.”

    Barriers have since been put up by the water race to make the area safer, and Tupou said the door would remain locked from now on.

    Samuel was buried on Friday and his death has been referred to the coroner.

    Selwyn District Council chief executive David Ward declined to comment on the cost of fencing or restricting access to water races.

    Four people have drowned on the South Island in recent weeks.


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