We moved to Marahau from Christchurch in 2015, partly because of the earthquakes. I was doing social community work in the east part of the city, which was basically wiped out. The work just wasn’t there anymore. We’d recently had our first child and had to reassess everything. We decided to move to Marahau where Lenna’s parents live. The idea was to create a new life, start a business and build a house. We wanted to give our children a really nice childhood and have a real nudge at life.
We were staying in a house in Marahau and had started a horse-trekking business, Abel Tasman Horse Trekking, then Cyclone Gita came through and took out the house and the pasture for our horses. We would’ve lost the kids – a slip moved the house by around 10 metres. We were blessed that we were out looking at the stormy sea because we’d been stuck inside all day. We lost all our possessions and were effectively homeless, moving around six times the following year and even lived in a tent for a bit. It was a difficult time.
For several months, we tried unsuccessfully to get funds from all of the bigger banks to build our own house. Then we tried the Motueka branch of NBS, and they said: “We can work with that”. That was massive for us, it was such a huge weight off our shoulders. It meant we could really move forward with our lives. We found some land that was safe from these kinds of storms on my wife’s parent’s property, built with Chris Butler Builders and moved in July 2019.
Winning the Subaru XV Sport was a massive surprise! We’d opened a Target Account at NBS and were told we’d be entered into the car draw. I didn’t think anything of it. We only had one car, and with three kids in the country, I’d been saying to Lenna that we needed another car. NBS contacted my father-in-law and he teed up the surprise at a local café in Marahau. He asked us to meet him for coffee, but I knew something was up. I thought maybe he’d teed up Santa for the kids. The coffee came out and one of the coffee cups was turned upside down. The barista was pretty excited. He told me to check out what was underneath the cup. It was a set of keys! Greg from NBS then slid in and pointed out the car. We had no idea! It was fantastic. It’s a boyhood fantasy winning a brand-new car. All the driver assist functions are blowing my mind! We’ve had a difficult period with a lot of challenges, so it really means a lot.