House fire destroys everything family owned

The Lamond family, including David and Zoanna and their children Nahum 12 and Mordecai 6, contemplate their immediate future following a fire that gutted the family home in Taupō.

A Taupō family is coming to terms with losing just about everything they owned in a house fire last week.

Zoanna and David Lamond bought their four-bedroom home on Gillies Avenue in 2021. It was home to the couple, their boys Nahum 12 and Mordecai 6, Zoanna’s nephew Michael, and a young mother-of-two for whom they provide support and a space to relax.

Part of the appeal of the home for the active outdoors family was the mezzanine floor, where they built a climbing wall while isolating together with Covid-19 not long after they moved in.

That all changed just before midday on April 9, when neighbours spotted smoke and then billowing flames erupting out of the windows.

By the time the Zoanna and David arrived they could do nothing but watch as the smoke swirled out of the windows, and firefighters dampened down the smouldering ruins. Everything inside was black from the flames, the heat and the smoke.

Thankfully, nobody was home at the time of the fire. Everyone was either at school or work. Fire and Emergency confirmed investigators were still trying to determine the cause of the fire but it “appears to be accidental”.

Firefighters extinguish the fire on Gillies Ave in Taupō. Photo / Milly Fullick.

Zoanna says they have insurance on the house and contents, but they need to itemise every last thing they have lost and be prepared to be without a home for about a year until it can be rebuilt.

In the meantime, the family is without everything they had previously taken for granted.

“You know when you are on holiday and you go ‘oh, I forgot to pack ... everything’. What was it this morning? I just couldn’t find a hair tie, and raincoats, that was the other thing. I’ve got to laugh because if I don’t laugh about it I might just cry.“

She also found her wedding ring amongst the ruins, covered in soot.

The response from the community was immediate with the Salvation Army organising motel accommodation straight away.

“I don’t think they had even fully put out the fire. It was still smoking and the pastor ... she was already on the phone trying to book a motel – amazing.”

They were now staying in a house owned by a woman in Acacia Bay, and a member of 109 Church in Taupō. The house was for sale but they were welcome to stay in it until it had sold. The church also gave them a big food parcel, says Zoanna.

A Givealittle page set up for the family had raised over $5000 by April 15, but finding a house to live for the next 12 months will be the big challenge, in a town with very few listings.

“Taupō is a nightmare for renting so I need long-term accommodation.”

Her nephew is now staying with friends in Whanganui and her two boys, aged 12 and 6, are coming to terms with not having much in the way of possessions.

The oldest is a big fan of playing the online video game Fortnite but had to miss a big tournament on the weekend that he was looking forward to.

“We had a bit of a cry at bedtime last night as we talked about what we could do this weekend instead. So he loves walking up Mt Tauhara, so we are going to walk up Mt Tauhara as a family rather than play Fortnite, but he does miss out on his tournament.”

She says the family was not well-off financially but also not struggling to make ends meet before the fire.

“We're planned spenders. We had just done our big monthly shop and we weren’t expecting to pay anything this week. The next thing was the mortgage and that still needs to happen.”

She says the house was small “but it was ours, so many memories”.

Offers of rental accommodation can be directed to

-Waikato Herald.

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