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Father-of-two Owen Morris Wright survived the initial earthquake of February 22, 2011, but was tragically killed in a rock fall during an aftershock near his home several hours later.

Working at his Joinery by Design business in the city when the first earthquake hit, Owen, 40, sent his wife a text saying he was safe.

Assured that his family were safe at home in Lyttelton, he and his business partner spent a couple of hours tidying up the Woolston factory - and then he set out for home in his Land Rover.

But when the he arrived at the base of the Port Hills he found the tunnel closed, so he turned up the Bridle Path to drive over the top.


Owen was desperate to get home to see his wife Megan and kids - six-year-old Sarah and three-year-old Eric - but he also wanted to help out.

So as he passed tired, scared people trekking on foot up the Bridle Path, he stopped time and time again to pick them up. He would drop some off at the top - then go back for more.

Eventually, he parked the Land Rover at the top, where the road was blocked, and set out on foot himself, down the Major Hornbrook Track towards his Lyttelton home.

He sent his wife of 17 years another text: "Home in 10."

That was his last contact.

As he walked down the path, almost within sight of home, another aftershock hit. The keen outdoors-man was crushed by boulders.

"He gave a number of people rides up the Bridle Path because they were walking home to Lyttelton from Heathcote.

"We understand that was his last act of kindness," said Owen's brother Anthony.