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Aaron Waine's relief at being reunited with his wife turned to horror when he realised a building she had seen collapse was where his mother, Susan Patricia Chuter, 52, worked.

Mr Waine told the Herald that because his wife worked in the Press building and his mother in the CTV building, which had both been badly hit, he initially thought he had "lost everyone".

However, his wife, Sonja, arrived home and told him how she had been in a gym when the earthquake struck, but had seen the building next door collapse.

"I started thinking about where the CTV building was, because Mum has only just started working there. And I realised that's the building that my partner watched come down.


"Devastated. It's hard to imagine losing anyone you love."

Susan had been a sales rep - Mr Waine thinks she worked on the third floor of the five-storey building. Hoping she might not have been in there, he had scoured the town.

"I've turned the city upside down to look for her, I've got a broken toe and have walked to the point where I can't walk any more.

"Life was just going really well. I just didn't think this was going to happen to my mother, you know."

Police confirmed Susan was a victim of the earthquake on March 8.