4 Weeks since the fire – next updates

Following on from my earlier posts – here are the next few days of updates I wrote ….

These are facebook copies – so things have moved on from them but it saves me writing them all again….

So here we go:

Day 5.

We are still here…. the world has not ended for us even though it felt like it at times. Yesterday helped immensely and so did the blessing and karakia at the house this morning. The Demolition has begun and latest tomorrow only the piles in the ground will remain.

It is just as heartbreaking for the owners of it as it was their home, it was not just a rental property like some – they lived in it before renting in out to go on a big NZ road trip and intended to come back to it and possibly retire in it. So our thoughts are with them as well. We are sharing our grief – I cant imagine when someone looses their home AND all possessions as well – we “only” have to deal with the contents…which is bad enough.

So I meant to share a bit about the car issues the other day ..

So the car itself is fine – but was unlocked and the keys and spares in the house – so lost. New keys take about 3 weeks to arrive from Germany (One would think they could just pop them on a plane…). In order to synchronize the keys with the car both need to be at the dealership/workshop though.

Originally Insurance company said they would not cover transfer/tow truck but when I pointed out that the car is unlocked, next to the remains of a house that will get pulled down with heavy machinery and if they rather pay me the key and tow truck or the whole car they relented and paid for those (minus $400 excess).

So this is kinda a gift that keeps on giving… loosing almost everything but then not being able to use the one thing we still DO have and could help us to get around….

Also today I got my dreaded Cortisone Injection into my elbow and if anybody again tells me they do not hurt they are lying…. man that was painful! And so far the arm still hurts…..

Again we like to thank all of you who have helped us financially and morally and with goods and meals and general support. We have been asked by the local paper if they could share the page and our story but we declined. It is traumatic enough for us and our landlords to see the house go up in flames we rather not re-live this.

On that note – the givealittle is still going and there is also a “gift” option on paypal if someone prefers to help us this way (no waiting time and no 5% commission like givealittle).

You will need my e-mail address R.G.Baker@xtra.co.nz for that (select family/friends and then gift).

We certainly do appreciate it more than you’ll every know.

Thank you all!

Next update tomorrow – I hope (fingers crossed) that I will have at least some eftpos cards by then… yeah!

I also hope that my arm will be strong enough for a few hours of typing responses to everybody or at least most of you!

Have a great day!



Day 6 (&7 – or one week) update

So yesterday I just was not in the right mindset of writing as we just lost my husbands cousin and everything just seemed so trivial… we are still alive after all …

So today is two in one post.

Its the little things that keep us going. Like receiving the first Current Archaeology Magazine since I lost all the last 5-6 years worth of them in the fire. Made my day.

What also made my day was finally getting Photo ID back in the form of my NZ passport. My Bank cards also arrived yesterday and we got the pins put onto them straight away in Paihia. Then we went to Kerikeri to get my Temporary Drivers Licence so I could at least get a rental car. It is so hard to get around if one does not have wheels ….

We can also announce that we have found a new place to live – in Tapeka (just over the hill from Russell). Its a fairly large place with no heating but it is directly on the coast with views over the Bay of Islands. We moved what little remained of our possessions in the garage (that miraculously survived sort of) there today. Its a start!

I’d like to say we are humbled by the random acts of kindness but of course these are not random… like our friends the German bakers (Rolf and Claudia) making some extra bread an rolls for us or the lawnmower man not wanting to give me his last invoice for his services…. or Paul our Neighbor who moved the firewood that we had in the garage and ironically survived too next door to our other neighbors who are grateful to have some before winter.

The new place does not have a fireplace so no need for us to have that wood stacked up…

Last night was not such a good night in terms of sleep again – in my mind and dreams I was going through all rooms, each corner… and counted the things we lost….. and questioned myself did I actually need them…. Random things..

I have had quite a book collection of various topics.. some of my history/archaeology books where signed… like #BritainBC and #FlagFen by Francis Pryor or some weaving books that where a good 100 years old…

All gone….many more one off items…some of which i will miss – others not so much…

Many items will need replacing and cant get second hand…. so the actual cost of this is just dawning on me….

Really people – Save all your documents in a cloud but ALSO take copies and have them outside of your house… cloud systems can also fail (as in my case with no business data saved despite the folder being there..). Insure your home and contents more than you think you need…its the little things that add up – like getting all ID’s replaced etc….. Some here in the village already told me, as a result of what happen to us they review their security on those areas….do it!

I have had still no time to thank each and every one of you personally – I tried but I had no idea how many true friends we really had. As the saying goes “a friend in need is a friend indeed” . So I will eventually get to it but in the meantime – THANK YOU ALL for your help, financially, morally, from afar and close and for your hugs and messages. We really appreciate it!

So today marks 1 week since it happened and it seems like ages ago… but for us it is still raw. The house is gone now – down to the foundations and our lovely landlords who have also been through the ringer like us are taking care now of the clearing and possible re-build. Spare a thought for them too if you may. They are not the kinda people who buy rental properties to make money – this was their home – so their loss is just as great.

On that note – the givealittle is still going and there is also a “gift” option on paypal if someone prefers to help us this way (no waiting time and no 5% commission like givealittle).

You will need my e-mail address R.G.Baker@xtra.co.nz for that (select family/friends and then gift).

We certainly do appreciate it more than you’ll every know.

Oh and all of you who march today in the anti BREXIT march in London – I am with you!

Nga mihi nui


Morena Koutou, almost 2 weeks and we are still coming to terms with it all.

I have semi good days and really bad days (like when the insurance company makes no move and is just passing the ball…and that is an understatement).

We have had some good developments too though so I try to focus on those today.

We will get the fridge, washing machine and most importantly small TV (for the husband not me…) delivered today. The power should have been connected yesterday and the internet tomorrow – though waiting for the modem still.

I am also getting my own car back today some time but again they rang me and said “so sorry something terrible has happened” Me:thinking ‘ maybe they wrecked the car in the yard and now its a full replacement car…’ – “we only received one key…. but ordered two” …. Me: ” Lady you need to re-think the word ‘terrible’ when talking to someone who just lost everything in a fire….” I can come back for that ONE key….lol

Also I wanted to thank Ioulia from Teri Dyes who sent me a surprise parcel the other day – every bit helps. Also thank you my friend Heather Carrigan from Flax and Fibre for sending me a acrylic shell and offering to help with the mahi from your end!

I could not have been coping at all withouth Mandy Sunlite and Pikiteora Mitchell and Eliza Yukich as well as Rosalie Wihare and Krissey Nicholson to name but a few but you guys are my back right now. Kia Ora from all three of us!

Here in Russell we have been so lucky to be able to stay with Jane Hindle and her husband Geoff (makes for fun conversations when one is calling ‘a’ Geoff and two – or on occasion three answer…lol) . Jane was also the one who set up the Givealittle page that some of you have been donating to and sharing with your circles so a massive thank you for that! I am still not verified on that one as it takes photo ID (only got that Friday) and then 5 working days…but I have tried to contact a lot of people and say thanks!!

My biggest emotional support person here is my dear friend and former neighbor Gail Russell – frankly when the darkness decedents on my mind she has been there with me and helped me through places I had no idea existed in my head….

I should also mention my many, many German, English and American friends who are mostly not on facebook but have heard through other means and have been sending money, care parcels and just general support messages and also supported my parents who of course are worried sick too…

We are so humbled by all of your support and wish we could give you all a hug or two to say thank you!

I leave you with a photo of the resident kingfisher and the lovely note from Teri Dye and also again the links to the two best ways of helping us to re-build our lives the givealittle page and also my e-mail for any donations to paypal (no 5% fee…) as we are a long way from getting our lives sorted. Please feel free to share with your contacts…

Paypal – my e-mail address is R.G.Baker@xtra.co.nz (select send money to friends and family / gift)

Oh and one last tip of the day:
Start a list of things you may need to replace when something like this happen to you – e.g. Drivers licence, passport, clothes, even towels and bedding – do the small stuff and put prices next to it… that is what I should have done… or I would have known that we where under-insured…the small stuff is what adds up…

Learn from my mistakes….

So again the disclaimer – these are posts I put up on facebook as they happened…. these last two photos are copies of some I took when I still had my camera gear…




  1. Hi Rita , thinking of you both, So sorry to hear about the house fire. Love Greta

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