The family of a Christchurch teenager who drowned after rescuing his younger brother are thrilled he will be officially recognised as a hero.
Sixteen-year-old Lale Sioa Taiulu drowned in the Waimakariri River in January 2008 after saving his 12-year-old brother, Maifea, when a swimming outing for two families near the old bridge went tragically awry.
A 26-year-old father of three, Larry Pau, who lived just three doors from the Taiulu family in Bryndwr, drowned in the same incident.
Coroner Sue Johnson recognised Sioa's bravery at an inquest into the two deaths in 2009 and last year recommended him for a posthumous award.
She said Sioa, a Burnside High School student and promising rugby player, died "after performing an heroic act in saving his brother's life".
The Royal Humane Society has posthumously awarded Sioa its "In Memoriam Certificate" recognising his "courage and humanity" but was unable to trace his family to present it.
Society secretary Norman West said the Pau and Taiulu families were related, but he'd been unable to contact anyone from either family.
However, after an article in The Star last Wednesday, Sioa's sister, Stunzer Taiulu, has come forward.
"It's been a while and wel never thought this would happen," she said. "It's a huge surprise."
Mr West said the certificate was put "on hold" when the family couldn't be traced.