Christchurch twins prepare for rebuilding home

00:24, Aug 14 2012
Helen and Edna Yates
LIFE CHANGES: Christchurch twins Helen and Edna Yates look at the house they lived in for 95 years before it is demolished because of earthquake damage.

Helen and Edna Yates are not sure why they stayed in Worcester St, Christchurch, for 95 years.

The 96-year-old identical twins were born at the house, although on different days.

Helen Yates was born 10 minutes before midnight on January 2, 1916, and her sister was born 20 minutes later.

Helen and Edna Yates
IDENTICAL: Helen and Edna Yates when they were 3 years old.

The twins were forced to move from the only home they had known when the house was severely damaged in the February 2011 earthquake.

Helen Yates said it was "a sad day" when the quake destroyed their family home.

"It was in good order really until the walls started falling in," Edna Yates said.

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"There's no use crying, is there? Nobody's going to wipe the tears for us."

They were now staying at their nephew's house in Pines Beach until their Worcester St house was rebuilt.

During their 95 years in the street, they had seen the area change from family homes to flats and townhouses.

Helen Yates said she did not know why they never left, but it was customary to stay living at home until a person was married.

They had also wanted to take care of their parents and chose to stick together rather than get married and move elsewhere.

"We do everything together," Edna Yates said.

Demolition work on the house, which they called Rangitira, began a couple of weeks ago.

The twins were in two minds about moving back to the area they had grown up in, with Edna Yates saying their new neighbours in Pines Beach had been "absolutely marvellous".

The Press