Quake belt tale shares mood

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By JA­SON HOW­ELLS

For­mer Mata­mata man Rob­bie Te Huna rushed to the aid of his wife Kylie and mother-in-law Dawn, who were caught up in the dev­as­tat­ing Christchurch earth­quake, af­ter they texted him to say they were both stranded at a mall just out­side the cen­tral busi­ness district.

Te Huna, 37, was in his work ve­hi­cle driv­ing in Christchurch’s east­ern sub­urbs when the earth­quake struck.

He said he felt his truck shake and thought he’d blown a tyre but, when he saw the road open up be­fore his eyes, pow­er­lines fall, cars crash and houses col­lapse, he im­me­di­ately felt concern for his fam­ily.

When he ar­rived at the East­gate Mall in Lin­wood, where his wife and mother-in-law were, Mr Te Huna wit­nessed more disas­ter, as peo­ple fainted and the outer walls crum­bled.

He helped carry a se­cu­rity guard out of the rub­ble on a makeshift stretcher built from pipes pulled from the build­ing. He couldn’t see his wife and mother-in-law so he drove around the build­ing to where the two shaken women, part of the evac­u­ated crowd, waved to him.

Mr Te Huna said the or­deal felt ‘‘sur­real’’ but speak­ing from Christchurch a week later, be­lieved he was lucky his fam­ily were all okay.

His wife Kylie has been a bit shaken by the ex­pe­ri­ence and said she was afraid to go back into the cen­tral busi­ness district.

His two sons, Jack, 8, and Oliver, 5, were at school in Ran­giora at the time and he said they were both also a bit shaken up.

The Ran­giora district where they live wasn’t im­me­di­ately af­fected by the quake but his neigh­bour­hood has ral­lied around to help send­ing trays of food as part of the re­lief ef­forts.

Mean­while, his mother-in-law who lives in Ohoka 20 min­utes north of Christchurch has re­turned to the city

Mr Te Huna grew up in the Mata­mata area and went to Mata­mata Col­lege. He moved to Christchurch where he is manger of Main­land Met­als, which is con­tracted to re­move some of the de­bris from the city. Mr Te Huna felt Christchurch would mend over time, that it was ‘‘shaken but not de­terred’’ and he had no plans to leave the re­gion. ‘‘This is home,’’ he said. The ironic thing was he had told his wife be­fore she left not to for­get her purse, which she left in­side the mall. Her Aunt Vivi­enne who worked in the mall said had she re­turned to re­trieve it things may have been dif­fer­ent.

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