Hayden Pore was sitting down for dinner on Kuta Beach, Bali, when suddenly "the whole bench was moving".
As he tried to stand, glasses were thrown and bottles were falling around him.
The "sharp and rough" shaking continued for two minutes.
When it stopped, Pore hopped on his scooter and dodged the rubble and broken walls to return to his hotel, where guests waited for 40 minutes to return inside.
Ten minutes after the doors reopened, there was a second quake.
Pore has spent most of his career in the security business - he knows how to keep people safe, but he "didn't feel it" in the concrete building.
He rushed to a stairwell to help a frightened couple in their 70s get outside.
Just as the group took in the latest scene of collapsed walls and crushed scooters, a third quake hit, just 20 minutes after the previous one.
The screams returned, the damage continued and by the time the aftershock finished there was a rush of tourists packing up and heading straight to the airport to get out.
Pore was born in Rotorua and was in Indonesia to buy equipment for the business he started last month, Manawa Security.
He's a proud member of the Curtis family, he refers to Sir Toby as a grandfather and Cliff as an uncle.
Pore got "about a hundred messages" from worried friends and whānau after the 6.9 quake struck at a depth of 15km on neighbouring island Lombok.
When he spoke to the Rotorua Daily Post yesterday afternoon the death toll was close to 100.
This month's trip was Pore's third time in Bali, and he summed up the experience as "very frightening".
Pore could not find a seat on a flight until Wednesday night, three days after the first shake, so he helped locals clean up and rebuild walls while he waited.
"We do what we do as Kiwis. I just felt sorry for the people."
Pore had originally planned to be in Bali until Friday, but he is now in Australia.
He will arrive in Rotorua on Monday and is "pretty happy" about it.
"It was one of nature's things.
"Lives have been lost but the main thing that I take away from this trip is that it does not matter where you are in the world, or how tropical and lovely it is, things like this can happen in a second ... We should always make the most of what we have."