Tuipulotu 'Tui' Gallaher insisted that his rescuer save his cousin first on the night he drowned at Maroubra Beach.
The two 14-year-olds went swimming around 8:30pm two days after Christmas when they got into trouble in the water. A 26-year-old man who was passing by went into the water to help the boys.
"Tui let (George) go first when the man swam out," Tui's aunt Nipa Makoni told the Daily Telegraph on Thursday, as Tui was laid to rest at the Waterway Chapel at Rookwood Cemetery.
"It's going to be with him forever."
The man returned for Tui but could not find the boy. The search found his body three days later. This incident is just one of an unprecedented number of drownings across NSW this summer.
Friends and family gathered at the burial, many wearing t-shirts with the words "Tears for Tui" and a picture of the teenager. He is being remembered as a boy who was selfless and loving and always put his family first.
Tributes for Tui have since been posted on social media and a Go Fund Me page was set up to help the family with funeral costs.
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