READER REPORT:

Our new life in Rangiora

LISA HETHERINGTON
Last updated 11:50 20/02/2013

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February 22, 2011 started as any normal day. Kids off to school and our busy day running our motel started.

Almost a full house due to having the Japanese Womens Olympic Marathon team in camp.

12.40pm saw me at QE II to watch my son at swimming lessons.

12.51pm saw our lives change in so many ways.

After regrouping with my husband and two children we managed to survey the damage. No water, power or sewage, badly damaged motel units, liquefaction and a further damaged home.

After hours trying to contact the interpeter for the group and accomodation for all our guests and ourselves we all moved to another motel. Then reality sunk in.

We had no home, the kids' school was damaged and we had no jobs. Next day, gratefully, wonderful friends offered for us to stay. Then my sister in Tauranga offered to take the kids for a week. The hardest day of my life putting the kids on that plane amongst all the turmoil and anguish we were all going through but the best for them and gave us breathing space to sort the business and find somewhere to live.

After searching North Canterbury with no luck we decided to try Ashburton where extended family were to try to find somewhere to live and try to sort out our lives.

After finding a rental and sorting out a school we finally were on track to some normality. We stayed there for six months during which time the fate of our home and business were decided. We were advised not to live in our house due to damage but this was not a choice anyway as it was part of the business which was badly damaged and yellow stickered by the council.

Insurance decided it was fixable but nothing would be done until all services were reconnected which the council advised would be a long time. Then June delivered the final nail. Residential red zone and a battle with insurance and our lease.

September 2011 our new lives started in Rangiora. Kids in their third school for the year and a new home that was safe and we both had secured jobs. Finally some normality and time to move forward.

February 2013 sees us settled still in Rangiora, with the kids happy in their new school and being grateful everyday that we survived that day and have been able to move on, but also with some guilt for friends still stuck fighting insurance hassles and school friends who now face further turmoil with their school being told they have to close and merge with another.

Life throws us curveballs and it is hard when choice is taken from you but we need to be grateful for the things we take for granted especially our lives.


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