13 Mar, 2023
Watching your world crushed under tons of dirt is an experience most can relate to vicariously through the unfolding Hawkes Bay Cyclone Gabrielle disaster. However for one local woman this scenario became a frightening reality recently, when multiple slips of sodden earth barrelled downhill towards her as she made a run for her life.
Mangawhai Beach School (MBS) Environmental Sciences teacher Jackie Fanning had not been home long on the afternoon of the incredible dumping of just under 400mm [ref Northland Regional Council’s Hakaru Environmental Data Hub] of rainwater on February 24, before becoming aware of the loud noise and movement of the first landslide which ‘stopped within centimetres of my house’.
“I’m lucky really as it gave me the fright to get the hell out of there… and that the two other slips happened after I left,” she says. “They came down within an hour of me leaving, creating a wave of mud, picking up my water tank, smashing off my bedroom, moving my house one space forwards and sideways, taking it off its piles and turning it 45 degrees.”
The slips also destroyed her possessions including her van and waka.
“It’s pretty heart-breaking to be organising the demolition of my much-loved home, which I’ve lived in for less than a year,” she says. “I’m now trying to sort things out with insurances, phone wait times though are up to two hours… there’s so many people in similar or worse scenarios at the moment.”
Currently staying with family while she recovers from her ordeal, the devastation of Jackie’s loss is not lost on Mangawhai locals, with a Givealittle page set up by ‘Team Jackie’ already collecting over $45,000 to support the highly-regarded teacher, dedicated supporter of Marunui Conservation and committee member of Mangawhai’s Waka Ama Inc.
A disclosure on the crowd-funding page states that although Jackie has various insurances to cover her losses and to rebuild a home on a different location on her land, friend and colleague, MBS deputy principal Emma Grieve says ‘she will need more than what this will cover’.
“Jackie is such a valued member of Mangawhai’s community, she’s a loved teacher, runs and promotes environmental education for our children and their families, and teaches teenagers and adults the joy of sportsmanship and teamwork on the water through our Waka Ama Group,” Emma says.
“She is also a cherished member of Marunui Conservation, a true kaitiaki, who dedicates countless volunteer hours to protecting the native species in this area. Jackie’s worked so hard for her home, we would love to help this beautiful lady who gives so much to others, to rebuild her life.”
Jackie says the kindness and support shown by people in Mangawhai and the wider community has been remarkable.
“I’ve had so many messages of kindness, Emma has been amazing, Kaipara council are being as helpful as possible and I even had the local Engel generator supplier offer to replace the generator I had recently purchased off him,” she says.
“I’ve been overwhelmed by generosity and consideration. It is very stressful losing my home so the money raised is definitely a silver lining for me and hopefully I’ll soon have my own transport again and be back on the water in a replacement waka/canoe. Thank you everyone from the bottom of my heart.”
n Want to help Jackie get back on her feet? Please visit givealittle.co.nz/cause/lost-everything-2
“It’s pretty heart-breaking to be organising the demolition of my much-loved home, which I’ve lived in for less than a year.”
- Jackie Fanning
Frightening scars on the hillside from the extreme rainfall on February 24 reveal the massive landslide which plunged down onto the home and property of local teacher Jackie Fanning, causing her to run for her life. PHOTO/BRUCE COPELAND