Western Leader : February 11th 2011
www.westernleader.co.nz Friday, February 11, 2011 Discover the world while you work Get the skills and experience you need for a job in the Travel and Tourism industry by studying at MIT. Apply now for February 2011. 0800 62 62 52 • www.manukau.ac.nz/tourism 7664 MIT000133 C Swept away in shallows Full life: Lita and Emmanuel Ofrasio could not be more proud of the life their daughter Patricia, right, lived. The 21-year-old drowned at Mercer Bay. Photo: FIONA GOODALL By AMY McGILLIVRAY A KNEE-DEEP ocean dip to cool off after a day's tramping near Piha ended tragically for a young woman who lived life to the full. Patricia Ofrasio and her university friends were head- ing back for a barbecue after a long trek on February 3. They were wading in the shallow at Mercer Bay when the 21-year-old was swept away. Patricia's friends grabbed hold of her twice but could not pull her back to shore. It was the Mt Wellington resident's first hiking experi- ence. Her parents Lita and Emmanuel Ofrasio light up when they talk about their youngest daughter. But their eyes are full of sadness at having lost her at such a young age. She was affirming, she was a good listener,'' Mrs Ofrasio says. She was my rock and my strength.'' Both are proud of every- thing their daughter managed to cram into her 21 years. Patricia was due to com- plete her honours degree in information systems at Auck- land University this year. She graduated with a bach- elor of commerce majoring in accounting at the age of 19. She was to receive her post- graduate diploma in infor- mation systems in May. Now that I think about it, it seems like she was in a hurry to finish everything,'' Mrs Ofrasio says. She must have been in a hurry because she knew she was going.'' Patricia moved to New Zea- land from the Philippines in 2003. She enrolled in Wellington Girls High School where she was moved up a year. Her determination and hard work saw her complete NCEA level 3 a year early, allowing her to start univer- sity when she was only 16. Mrs Ofrasio says her daughter excelled at every- thing she did. She was good at biology, she was good at science,'' she says. She was good at every- thing.'' She initially planned to fol- low in her mother's footsteps and be an accountant but decided it wasn't for her. She's creative and she wanted to keep being cre- ative,'' Mrs Ofrasio says. The youngest of three sisters was part of a team that entered software into the 2010 Imagine Cup and was working on an iPhone appli- cation to help people find cof- fee shops. Patricia worked as a tutor at Auckland University and volunteered at a Trade Aid store. She found time to teach herself to play the piano and also loved to paint -- often doing pictures for her friends on their birthdays. The energetic young woman was always on the go, her mother says. She took up writing when she was home sick one day and eventually posted 10 chapters of her story online. Mr Ofrasio says there have been more than 70 good reviews of her work. They were asking for more -- but no more,'' he says. Patricia never said no to an adventure and loved kayaking and fishing. She was a lover of life,'' her mother says. Surf Life Saving New Zea- land spokeswoman Monique Caddy couldn't comment on Patricia's death but says it's important swimmers know their limits and realise con- ditions can change quickly. She says swimming at remote and unpatrolled beaches can be dangerous. Water Safety New Zealand says 27 people have drowned nationwide so far this year. A funeral was held on Saturday and preliminary findings by the coroner confirm Patricia drowned.
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