Quick-thinking Samoan-speaking police officer saves RSE worker’s life

Source: 1News

A quick-thinking Auckland police officer has been credited for saving a woman’s life. 

On Thursday last week, Sergeant Esau Uiese got a call from Amelia, an RSE worker from Samoa, asking for help because she was struggling to breathe. 

Amelia had rung Uiese, a District Pacific Liaison Coordinator who speaks Samoan, directly because she was struggling to communicate in English. 

Police raced to the boarding house Amelia was staying at with other seasonal workers. They found her on the floor in her room and took her to Middlemore Hospital. 

“I have had a long-standing relationship with the RSE community in the Counties Manukau area, and it’s through this partnership Amelia chose to contact me directly instead of 111,” Uiese said. 

“I know it’s hard for these RSE workers – they contacted me because of the language barrier. 

“It’s difficult to cope while working in a foreign country when English is not your first language. I’m so glad that we could be there, and it shows she has trust and confidence in [the] police to seek our help.” 

Amelia told police after the ordeal she was very thankful. 

“I had an allergic reaction … I am so very thankful for the quick response from the police which saved my life. If it wasn’t for that I would have died," she said.

Pacific Responsiveness advisor Senior Sergeant Sanalio (Lio) Kaihau said Uiese’s response helped get Amelia to hospital and get the treatment she needed. 

“If he wasn’t there to help, who knows what may have happened – he saved her life,” he said.

“These barriers were effectively mitigated by Sergeant Esau Uiese’s swift response while using his cultural skills and engagement.”

He still urged RSE workers to dial 111 in case of any life-threatening emergency in the future.