Fam­ily seeks home af­ter fire guts rental


The Porirua fam­ily who lost ev­ery­thing in a house fire last month are liv­ing in a mo­tel, strug­gling to find a new home.

The com­mu­nity ral­lied around Muaau and Vasati Lopati, do­nat­ing ev­ery­thing from a mi­crowave to spare bed­ding, af­ter their pos­ses­sions went up in smoke dur­ing a fast blaze at their rented Can­nons Creek home on April 27.

But three weeks on, do­nated goods re­main in stor­age as the cou­ple found an­other rental prop­erty in Cham­pion St was not suit­able.

They needed a house big enough for them and their chil­dren, in Tawa or Porirua, and were get­ting help from Hous­ing NZ.

Muaau Lopati, who had been driv­ing his taxi when he heard about the fire at home, said he and his wife had since been liv­ing in a mo­tel, with help from Work and In­come.

‘‘At the mo­ment, we’re look­ing for a house. Be­fore the fire, we were plan­ning to have our fam­ily to­gether, with our kids.

‘‘But ev­ery­thing’s been dis­turbed and in­ter­rupted by the fire. With­out the fire, ev­ery­thing would be all right.’’

It was hoped their kids, aged 10 and 16, would ar­rive to live with them in Tawa or Porirua from Samoa in about a month.

His wife, who man­aged to flee the house in time thanks to a smoke alarm, has had a hard time get­ting over the shock.

The cause of the blaze was thought to be an elec­tri­cal fault in the lounge, the same room where Vasati Lopati tried des­per­ately to fight the flames leap­ing up the walls.

‘‘We don’t want to live in a mo­tel,’’ Muaau Lopati said.

‘‘We ap­pre­ci­ate what they have done, but that’s not how we want to live.

‘‘We’re just look­ing for­ward to get­ting back to nor­mal ... back on our feet. It’s hard to think nor­mally. Most of the time we just make sure we are all right.

‘‘But now it’s the two of us need­ing a house badly.’’

The fam­ily were ex­tremely grate­ful to the com­mu­nity for its sup­port, and to the woman pro­vid­ing stor­age for the do­nated goods, in the weeks af­ter the blaze.

‘‘There’s a lot of love in the area for us and we ap­pre­ci­ate it.’’


The Lopatis lost ev­ery­thing in a fire at the home they rented in Porirua.

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