You have to admire the attitude of Waipawa's Bruce and Jocelyn Buchanan.

The Central Hawke's Bay couple awoke in the wee small hours of Sunday morning to find their weatherboard home ablaze.

What added to the drama was their two young grandsons, 9-year-old William and 10-year-old Hunter, were in the house.

Read more: Early morning fire guts home in Waipawa, Hawke's Bay


Hours later their whare was destroyed, all but razed, despite 35 volunteer firefighters and eight appliances from Wairoa, Waipukurau, Tikokino, Ongaonga and Otane devoting about seven hours to battle the inferno.

While no one was injured, the couple told us William has cerebral palsy and recently had an operation which meant he had casts on both legs and was wheelchair-bound.

His wheelchair - and Bruce's wheelchair - were both destroyed in the fire. Additionally, 45-years of "heart and soul" invested into an embroidery collection worth about $20,000 as well as heirlooms, home-schooling supplies, medical equipment and others were lost in the inferno.

Chapter one of the fire was over.

Chapter two began and ended yesterday when inexplicably the fire sparked up again at 3.30am fire appliances from Waipawa, Waipukurau, Otane and Hastings responded.

The family's stoic response to the tragedy and focus on their grandsons, for whom they are guardians, is something to behold.

This is a couple who had every reason to despair but chose instead to concentrate on what wasn't lost, and what the future holds.

If their courage and poise is be praised, so too is the public's response to their plight.

In addition to the donations and offers of help, a Givealittle page set up for the family had hit about $1500 by last night.

It's always lifting to see a groundswell of humanity following some genuine bad luck.

This is one those tragedies that for whatever reason brings out the best in the victims and the wider community.

While that's not particularly rare in the privileged country we inhabit, it does make for a nice bit of reflection and some welcome midwinter resilience.

* To donate money to the Buchanan family, visit: