RIP Helen Bain

Stuff reports:

A 38-year-old woman has died after being swept away riding a horse across the Ruamahanga River in the Wairarapa this afternoon, while a man died suddenly at Lake Taupo and another drowned at Northland’s Ninety Mile Beach after trying to rescue his grandchildren today.

The woman was riding with a friend near Matapihi Road, about 5km north of Masterton, at 2pm when she attempted to cross the swollen river, Masterton police said.

The horse fell and the woman was swept away.

Her riding companion tried to help her and then sought help from a nearby friend.

The friend searched and found the woman downstream.

She was taken onto land but could not be revived.

A friend texted me with the name of the person who drowned, as we both knew her from our days working at Parliament. I can’t say more until the Police name her, but am very saddened by such an early and tragic death. She was a vibrant irreverent sort, who will be missed by many who knew her. My thoughts go out to her family, close friends and colleagues.

I’ll say more once the Police release the name officially.

UPDATE: They have now named Helen Bain.

I met Helen around 15 years when I started at Parliament. She worked for the then Dominion and had a wonderful irreverent wit. She won several Qantas Awards and I recall former Editor Richard Long often referring to her as one of the most talented journalists he had hired.

Helen spent a couple of years working for John Tamihere as his press secretary. She had hilarious stories from that period, as Tamihere was always getting into trouble.

Helen did a brief spell as the Sunday Star-Times political editor and also was a motoring writer for a while. I recall hassling her once about having to write a story about riding the 11 pm bus with the hoodies 🙂

For the last four years or so she was Comms Manager for the Forest and Bird Society. If people ever wondered why I often ran promotions or free ads for them, despite disagreeing with them on some issues – the answer is Helen would inveigle me into it. Never could say no to her!

Any death at 38 is far too young. Helen especially though was full of life, and her loss will be felt keenly. The only commiseration is that she died doing something she loved – horse riding.

Again my thoughts are with her family, colleagues and close friends.

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