Trust helps 66 children who lost parent in Christchurch earthquake
Molly Maynard recently turned 8.
The Christchurch school pupil spent her birthday with her 6-year-old sister, Matilda, at their grandparents' house in Invercargill.
Molly said her favourite present was from her grammy - a gold locket barely bigger than a tooth.
"It has a picture of mum inside," she explained.
"On the back, it says 'I'll always be your little princess'."
Molly and Matilda's mum Kelly was killed when the PGC building she had recently gone back to work in collapsed in Christchurch's deadly February 2011 earthquake.
Since then, dad Mark has worked four days a week, picking the girls up after school at 3pm.
The Maynards are among 31 families financially assisted by the Canterbury Earthquake Children's Trust, which was set up to help the 66 children who lost a parent in the earthquake. Mark Maynard, a carpet salesman, said he went to a lot of quake repair jobs.
He was often asked how he fared during the quake.
"You say, well, you lost your wife. And they just about wish they didn't say that."
At work, he sees the city's pain, and progress, first hand.
At one job, his client told him about sleeping in their car for eight days after the quake.
"They couldn't go in the house" Maynard said.
"We all suffer in different ways."
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Despite the tragedy, Maynard is positive about his family's future and the city's.
"These girls are still young enough. When they're 18, 20 . . . it'll be a magic city."
A year ago, he met a new partner, who is a nurse at Christchurch Hospital.
"We always remember Kelly," he said.
"But that's the way life goes. You've got to carry on."
Geoff Hadfield's son Jayme was enrolled at the same Kaiapoi daycare as the Maynard girls when the quake struck.
His wife, Natasha, was killed as she tried to escape their Worcester St fish and chip shop.
Hadfield pulled his wife's body from the rubble.
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He and Jayme, now 6, have lived in Redland Bay near Brisbane, for the past three years.
Hadfield has returned to Christchurch once since the quake, for its first anniversary. Finances permitting, he will be back for the fifth.
He said after losing his wife and his income, he had no reason to stay. "Nat and I were together for almost 20 years. My world really did turn upside down and stop."
Hadfield works 12-hour days, five days a week as a GPS technician. Jayme goes to before and after school care, paid for by the same trust that helps the Maynards.
Hadfield said he was lucky to have the job but he wished he could spend more time with his son.
"It's less than ideal. Every hour I do at work, Jayme's doing the same hours [in care]."
He said night times were a "scramble", with chores and homework to be done, dinner and showers to be had.
"It was never going to be easy."
Jo Coupe was at her job as a bank teller when about two years ago , a customer named Debbie Pipson began chatting to her about a fun run she was helping organise to raise funds for the trust she helped co-found.
Pipson did not realise but Coupe's husband Patrick was killed in the PGC building.
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"At that stage, I was doing a bit of running and I just said to her I had three children that were impacted," Coupe said.
"The fact I even said that was kind of odd. It's not what I'd normally be talking about."
The Canterbury Earthquake Children's Trust has since subsidised university course and accommodation fees for her sons Sean, 22, and Liam, 18.
It was Sean's second day at Canterbury University when the earthquake struck. This year, he will graduate with a double degree in law and arts. Liam began studying fine arts in Auckland in March.
Jo Coupe said despite the odds, her sons had been determined to move forward.
"They've just kind of gotten on with it," she said.
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