Stephanie is the Rotorua Daily Post's head of news

Donations flood in to couple after house fire

Add a comment

A young Rotorua family whose home was destroyed by fire has been gifted an array of household items, as well as being offered a new home to rent.

Annmarie Walters and her partner Ihaka Matekino faced the longest 24 hours of their lives as they dealt with the aftermath of losing their Pandora Ave home.

The house's garage caught fire on Monday evening and the entire structure quickly became engulfed in flames.

While all four occupants escaped uninjured, the house - and all its contents - was destroyed.

But the Rotorua community has been quick to rally around the young family, donating appliances, beds, clothes and furniture to get them back on their feet.

"I didn't get to sleep until about 5am. It's been a long 24 hours, we're both so tired, the whole thing has been playing in my head over and over," Mr Matekino said.

Video


"But to wake up to the news that we have a house to move into and people in our community have donated all this stuff was overwhelming, we're speechless."

Ms Walters said she was incredibly grateful for the support the community had shown.

"Some of the people donating are total strangers. We can't express enough how grateful we are," she said.

"What has happened is devastating and we've lost some invaluable possessions but it's done now and all we can do is move forward."

Her mother-in-law, Lorraine Parker, said her phone had been ringing "non-stop" since news of the fire spread.


"I've been keeping a notebook of all the people donating just so we are able to thank them all, but even then, some people just want to be anonymous. The generosity is amazing.

"Councillor Mark Gould came round with some items and the SPCA gave us some dog food and offered to house our pets for a few days."

Mrs Parker said her nephew, who owned the house, was devastated to lose his "family home".

Specialist fire investigator Bay of Plenty Coast Jon Rewi said they had so far been unable to determine the cause of the blaze.

"The occupants were home at the time so the next step is talking it through with them to see if we can come to some conclusions."

- People wishing to donate to the couple can drop off goods at 47A Pegasus Drive or call 027 601 3306.

For more articles from this region, go to

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 26 Apr 2017 20:09:06 Processing Time: 1405ms