Opotiki Branch Responds to Neighbourhood Fire

  • 15 July 2012

Loading a trailer with donated items are Opotiki Branch church members from left: President No’oroa, Terry Sparks, Christine Herbert, Ena Herbert, Wayne Fermanis, Anthanee Fermanis, Maude Maxwell, Gaylene Kohunui, a voluntary worker for NZ Victim Support, and Eliza.  Image courtesy of Roseanne Jones and used with permission.


A house, just three doors down from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints' chapel in Ford Street, Opotiki, was home to a large extended family. It was destroyed on Saturday 28 April 2012 after a fire broke out. Community support agencies were contacted for emergency help. One of those agencies contacted is managed by a member of the Church in Opotiki, Maude Maxwell.

At Church the next Maude put out a request to members for donations that would help the family. Within two hours members had gone to their homes and returned with enough goods to fill a trailer. Some of the family's immediate needs were met. Branch President Tere No'oroa, and his First Counsellor, Wayne Fermanis, delivered the donated items which included: clothing, fresh fish, cutlery and utensils, toys, bedding, linen, and grocery to the displaced family at their emergency housing. The family expressed their surprise and sincere gratitude for the assistance received by the Church members.

The Church was one of the first organisations to respond to this tragedy. Later, in true Kiwi fashion, other support groups provided for the family's long-term needs.