Family evacuated from earthquake-damaged Wellington building: 'No one helped us'

By Frances Cook

As demolition starts on quake-hit 61 Molesworth Street, the family who were living there say they're struggling and helpless.

Heavy machinery began tearing down the nine-storey Wellington building today, after it was badly damaged by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake on November 14.

An investigation is underway, with allegations several tenants were illegally living across four floors of the building.

Olive Mape's family was in the building before being hurriedly evacuated with just some clothes. She said they're struggling to accept the demolition means they'll never recover their possessions.

Workers assembling the boom on the 85-ton ultra-high-reach excavator that was to be used to demolish 61 Molesworth Street in Wellington. New Zealand Herald photograph by Mark Mitchell.
Workers assembling the boom on the 85-ton ultra-high-reach excavator that was to be used to demolish 61 Molesworth Street in Wellington. New Zealand Herald photograph by Mark Mitchell.

"What the council told us is that they don't want to give us false hope. So it looks likely that we're never going to get anything out of that building.

"We're struggling as a family. All those memories. Everything that we were doing on a day to day basis. It just keeps coming back."

Ms Mape said they're losing everything, so want compensation. But neither the Council or Prime Property Group were helping them.

"The council told me that they wouldn't be helping us in any way. Because their prosecution of Prime Property is separate from what we're asking for.

"They say it's between Prime Property and us. But now that demolition is underway we don't know who is supposed to help us.

"The last we heard [from Prime Property] was 17th of November. He rang my husband, and we haven't heard from him since."

Ms Mape also had some strong words for the council.

"I don't know what their welfare managers are doing, to be honest. They changed our welfare manager just last Tuesday. She only mentioned that they can set up a meeting with community law."

- NZ Herald

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