Rebuilding after the Whitianga fireSave
By Hunter Calder
It's been three months since Coromandel resident Helen Lee lost her Kaimarama home of 17 years to fire.
She says when she returned - the hardest thing was seeing the remains of the frame of the piano "sticking up" which was the centrepiece of her home.
A proud musician, Ms Lee says the piano belonged to her mother. She has many fond memories playing music at her home on the point overlooking the Whitianga Harbour.
"It was sort of like my meditative place, the whole reason for being here, was that (piano) for me, that was my engine room."
The piano, the garden and the house are now gone - leaving only a cabin which was spared from the flames.
But Ms Lee is replanting and considering the daunting rebuild. And she's been given another piano.
"There's thousands of other pianos I can go and play, so it's not about that, it's just accepting that stage of my life has gone and now we are onto the next bit."
And while a lot of bush and trees were destroyed by the fire - which spread across 70 hectares - Ms Lee and others are committed to replanting the land and redoing her garden for the third time.