"No I don't ever remember anyone, or anything like that before."

These are the words of Nola Bassett, a former nurse who was at her 86-year-old husband's side as he coped with campylobacter after drinking contaminated Havelock North water in August.

It took David Bassett six days to recover from the gastric bug.

He recalls: "I went to bed one night, bloody sick all night."

Advertisement

"I didn't feel good, didn't get up and the neighbour next door rang up about 10 o'clock and said 'you haven't pulled your blinds, is everything ok?' as she does very often. I was in bed for six days, she [nodding to Nola] was okay. Luckily I married a nurse, I was well looked after."

Nola Bassett continues: "As a nurse I thought at first he had eaten something that had upset him, but I couldn't think what he had eaten that I hadn't.

"I'd been saying, 'you've got to drink water, you've got to drink water', and then I had to turn around and start boiling it."

"I would've been okay if you hadn't kept telling me that," Mr Bassett says.

"Yes dear," his wife retorts.

The couple didn't hear from anyone during the ordeal - except a water filter salesperson.

They went to the first public meeting held to address the unprecedented water contamination.

Mr Bassett says there was very little information, "apart from what we had heard on the news on the TV".

"When we got to that meeting, they had a lovely little pamphlet that detailed everything to do with boiling your water and so forth and if only they had put that into our letter box it would have been so much easier for everybody."

"But we never thought it would ever happen in this country - that you couldn't drink the tap water," the former nurse says.

The Bassetts say they will never forget the ordeal that was triggered by the campylobacter water crisis in Havelock North.

Made with funding from