Belinda Feek is a NZ Herald reporter

Morrinsville fire victims forced to shift to Hamilton due to property shortage

Nellie McRae, left, sister, Tabitha, mum, Carole, and brother, David, have been left homeless and with no belongings after fire destroyed their Morrinsville house on December 27. Photo / Belinda Feek
Nellie McRae, left, sister, Tabitha, mum, Carole, and brother, David, have been left homeless and with no belongings after fire destroyed their Morrinsville house on December 27. Photo / Belinda Feek

A Morrinsville family remain homeless after fire ripped through their home just after Christmas.

The McRaes are now having to look for rental properties in Hamilton as there is nothing available in the rural Waikato town due to a shortage caused by the property boom.

Their situation was made worse by an appeal for help on Facebook they had nothing to do with.

In the aftermath of the fire a local woman started a Facebook appeal for donations for the family, including food, clothing, whiteware and vouchers.

The family knew nothing of it and were unsuccessful in attempts to pick it up.

Eventually, two car loads and a trailer full of donations was picked up from the woman's house.

Morrinsville police are investigating a complaint alleging obtaining by deception.

Family spokesman Ethan Freegard said today they had been looking at houses all week but there were none around so they were now having to look in Hamilton.

"We're still waiting on booking times and there's so many other people who would probably get first pick ... it's just stressful."

A look at rentals on TradeMe Property comes up with just one house for rent - $500 a week in Te Aroha - in the whole Matamata-Piako district, which includes Morrinsville.

His girlfriend, Corrina McRae, who lived in the house with her two sisters, younger brother, David, and mother, Carole, had also lost her job at a supermarket in the town due to the blaze as she was unable to get to her shifts due to a lack of transport.

He hoped she would be able to get a transfer to a Hamilton supermarket.

While there had been donations of whiteware, bedding and single beds, they still had nowhere to put it and hadn't been successful in getting chosen despite attending many viewings held by various Hamilton rental property agents.

Freegard said it was a stressful time for everyone but Winz had stretched out their motel stay for a few more nights in the hope they would find a house soon.

The family had attended one viewing this morning and had another this afternoon.

"There's houses here but there's just so much competition ... and the agent has the choice on who to choose."

The family were after a four bedroom home in Hamilton and had a budget of up to $420 per week.

Matamata-Piako District councillor Paul Cronin said there was a shortage of properties to rent in not only Morrinsville but the whole district due to the number of Aucklanders moving down and snapping up property.

Winz had also helped with clothing for young siblings, Tabitha, 12, and David, 17.

Most of the donated clothes were too big for Nellie, 21 and 19-year-old Corrina, who were both small.

Waikato fire safety officer Kevin Holmes said the fire in the McRae's rental was caused by an electrical fault in the kitchen.

"It appears to be from a two-point adaptor which had a stereo and microwave plugged into it."

Police inquiries into the investigation are ongoing, a spokesperson confirmed today.

• Anyone wanting to make a donation, Auckland woman Arahi Sturmer-Karanui has set up a Givealittle page for the McRae family.

- NZ Herald

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