A renowned Raglan artist and his wife are coming to grips with losing their livelihood while on a working holiday on the other side of the world.
Aaron and Jasmin Kereopa are currently in Tennessee promoting Aaron's art work and have been left "stunned" after discovering their home and workshop have been reduced to a pile of ashes after a devastating fire ripped through their rural Te Mata home just before midnight on Friday.
Kereopa's younger brother and world renowned surfer, Daniel, 41, who has been looking after the couple's two young children, is now doing what he can to help them as they're due back in the country on Friday.
While he has set up a Givealittle page for the couple, who were not insured, he and the rest of the whanau have been left floored by the rapid response from the Te Mata and Raglan communities in beginning to round up much needed essential items, including everything from clothes, to whiteware and furniture.
Speaking to the Herald, Daniel Kereopa, who owns DK Surf School in Raglan and Orewa, said they were unable to salvage anything from the blaze.
However, a half-finished new art gallery, which the couple had just re-mortgaged their property to build, remains untouched and had a few pieces inside, but everything else was gone, including their car parked in the driveway.
"It's been a really hard one to get a grip on. It's more than his home, it's like everything is gone. So there's not a piece of anything that's been able to be salvaged.
"Even the vehicle and all the canoes. His inspiration is to paddle and surf a lot and all of that is gone. All the kids' stuff is gone, all their inspirations and stuff like that."
Kereopa said they had a family meeting on Sunday afternoon to sort out how they would streamline the receipt of donations.
"We're kind of overwhelmed with all the support. It's kind of gnarly ... it's been quite amazing actually."
He doubted the reality of what happened had sunken in with his brother.
"I don't think they know it's real because they're not physically here. When I went and checked up on it, I was like 'holy shit, this is actually real'. I sort of had a day of freaking out and then I was over it and I could move on but they haven't had a chance to move on yet."
The couple were in America getting leads and building networks to expand his brother's art career.
Posting a video on their Facebook page yesterday, Aaron Kereopa said they were stunned but thankful that their children and animals were safe.
"So yeah, just so grateful that nobody was hurt. It's quite a surreal space to be in right now. Here we are in Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee, America ...
"We're doing okay, we're surrounded by great friends and with a solid crew, as you can tell we're both quite stunned and shocked."
Jasmin Kereopa, who also lost all of her massage therapy equipment, added "my stomach is in knots and I'm shaking" and urged anyone who saw her kids to give them a big hug.
"It's breaking my heart that I can't be with them right now, to comfort them. It will be pretty hard on them. It was our home. We're not insured."
Daniel Kereopa said his brother had poured his life into his art which stemmed from his passion of being on the water.
"He was [overseas] getting leads so he could get out into the world and was planning for it.
"They were moving into another part of his career, so they re-mortgaged for a new gallery and were building that specifically for all his art work. But now their home is gone and they've got nowhere to live so if they move into the gallery they've got nowhere to show his stuff.
"It's such a crazy time for them."
Kereopa said his brother was "a genuine person" who was working through his goals and dreams and all of a sudden everything is taken away from him.
"But we're just grateful that no one was in the home."
Aaron and Jasmin were currently "hanging pretty tough in the States" but he believed they would probably break down once they saw the remains of their property on Friday.
"They're gonna freak out."
Older brother Aaron was the one who got him into surfing aged 8, throwing him in the boot of his old Kingswood station wagon and exposing him to a sport that would change his life forever.
Now, he hoped help repay his brother by helping set up and re-build their new life.
"This is my part to play in his life now, and his family's."