Police are investigating complaints about a social media appeal for a Morrinsville family who lost everything in a house fire.

The McRae family were left with nothing after a blaze ripped through their uninsured Lorne St home on December 27.

They were planning to visit Work and Income to ask for help today.

They say their situation has been made worse by an appeal for help they have nothing to do with.


In the aftermath of the fire a local woman started a Facebook appeal for donations for the family, including food, clothing, whiteware and vouchers.

However, Nellie McRae says the family knew nothing of the move and have received no donations. Morrinsville police are investigating a complaint alleging obtaining by deception.

"A person has allegedly been posting on social media asking for people to donate items to a family that lost everything in a house fire," a police spokeswoman said.

"It is believed this person does not have authority to do this from the family affected and has not been forwarding the gifts donated onto them. Police are concerned by this allegation and is investigating.

"If anyone has given to a cause such as this recently on social media and has concerns that your donation may not have reached the intended victims, please contact Morrinsville Police on 07 889 5071."

The Herald yesterday took members of the McRae family to the home of the woman who started the appeal. She said was trying to do the right thing and claimed she had the family's permission. Family matriarch Carole McRae denied that.

The woman said she had given all the donated items to two other local women yesterday morning.

The family picked up some gifts, including some food and a $50 Countdown voucher, last night but had to leave the remainder there until they found a house. They are due to look at a rental property this afternoon.

Matamata-Piako District councillor Paul Cronin said he helped facilitate the picking up of the items from the woman's house.

He said he took two carloads, along with a trailer, full of donations to another property. Including in the haul was a dining table, beds, bags of clothing and bedding.

He said the police investigation will confirm whether any crime has been committed.

Nellie, 21, said she was at home with sister Corrina, 19, and mother, Carole, when the fire began in the kitchen.

She was outside waiting for her mother to go shopping when she spied flames coming from the side of the house.

The McRae family of Morrinsville have been left with nothing after their rented home burnt down last week. Photo / Belinda Feek
The McRae family of Morrinsville have been left with nothing after their rented home burnt down last week. Photo / Belinda Feek

She tried to clamber through her bedroom window to salvage some precious belongings but was beaten back by the intensity of the smoke and fire.

"We have lost ... everything that we have got. Everything from our Nana that passed two weeks ago, that she gave us. That's all gone, too."

A week on, the family, which also includes, David, 17, and Tabitha, 12, are still searching for a new home but have been hamstrung by many property companies being closed over the festive break.

Some family members have stayed with friends, others have stayed in a Hamilton motel. Their budget for motel accommodation ran out after last night's stay.

Carole, who was shocked by how quickly the fire engulfed the small weatherboard home, says they have no idea where they'll go to next. She says they will visit Work and Income today to find out what assistance is available.