What actually happened.

WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED

We left our stunning house, Killara in Waipapa just outside Kerikeri in the Bay of Islands, on route to Hamilton at around 9:30 in the morning of 9 September 2011. The house was perfect, the lawns had been mowed and the gardens weeded the day before we left, we were intensely proud of the home that we had created, as you will see in these images it was truly beautiful. Naturally, all the doors and windows were secure as was normal when we left home.

The first we knew of the fire was when DS Sam Bindon of Kerikeri Police rang us at 9.00am on the morning of the 10 September, we were at a motel in Hamilton almost 400Km away from the house. He told us that we should return home and that the damage was very severe, little was left standing.

Fire Service officer, FSO, Craig Bain was quite forthright when we arrived home at around 4:30pm the next day, telling us the fire had been caused by ‘Vandals’ and the attending Police officers were also very sympathetic.

Everything changed when the IAG insurance investigators arrived, it quickly became apparent that they were not looking for the cause of the fire but a way to avoid the insurance claim.

In late November 2011, we went to see lawyer, Andrew Hooker, an Auckland based insurance law specialist. He told us that the situation we found ourselves in was far from uncommon, he had tens of similar cases and many of them would take years to resolve, IAG, he suggested, would go to any length to prevent meeting the claim. He would write to them to try to find out what was happening.

Weeks passed, Andrew exchanged letters with IAG’s lawyer Chris Hlavac who was representing them in our case, the letters just kept repeating that the investigation had not finished and said no more.

Andrew Hooker was not getting anywhere with IAG, he said that they seemed to be wasting time deliberately and that the only answer was to issue proceedings against them in the High Court for repudiation. The papers were prepared and the case was filed in mid March, Andrew explained to us that IAG would have 25 working days to file a defence and that would give him something to work with. The deadline was around the 21 April 2012.

Nothing was heard until on 17 April, D C Dawson and another officer arrived at our rented Tapu house, I was arrested for Arson!

I was bailed so I spent a day checking through the Police photographs taken of the scene by DS Sam Binden immediately after the fire that I had been given after the Police interview, most were taken before we got back to the site. 

Here you see the bi-fold doors that gave access to Eleanor’s bedroom. The soot covered door is folded back, the soot was on the side facing into the room! Note the large hole!

Looking at the door from the inside you can see an impact took place that did not break the laminated ‘anti slam’ glass, and below it a more violent impact that punctured it. The larger stone was found inside the room!

Now looking again at the first photograph, when the door was closed the hole would have been adjacent to the lock on the door to the left. DS Sam Binden had found the door unlocked, the bolt withdrawn and the thumb turn in the vertical unlocked position!

Clearly, there was a break in to the property after we left and before the fire! The method of entry here was exactly the same as in the previous break in, one of the large garden stones being thrown through the door’s glass to get to the lock which was then unlocked to gain entry!

DS Sam Binden also recorded the beer bottles and cigarette butts in the barn!

The comments about vandals made by the Fire Service and Police when we arrived at the fire scene all made sense after seeing these images but how they arrest me for arson when there were intruders in the property after we left the house?.

They were sent to the laboratory for Forensic testing, the bottles found to contain petrol1 and the two cigarette butts carried two different DNA signatures, both unidentified!

It is impossible to know how many of our belongings were removed by the intruders, empty jewellery cases were found in the debris along with photographs that had been removed from their solid silver frames but almost everything was either destroyed in the fire or stolen.

One dreadful thought haunted us, was this an attempt to KILL us? We had the two cars in the garage and a light switching on and off upstairs in the kitchen to make it look like we were at home, did the intruders expect to find us in bed? If not how did they know we were away, only the boarding cattery knew we were going away for a few days? The Police didn’t even investigate who actually caused the fire – the insurance company wanted me to be arrested and that was what happened.

To read the full story buy 100% New Zealand – the more you read the more shocked you will be!

5 Comments

  • comment-avatar
    Hōne Kawiti April 10, 2018 (7:09 pm)

    Hi,

    In 2010, with a group of Ngāpuhi elders, I visited your whare.

    You will remember us I’m sure. We told you the land was cursed, he kanga te whenua, and we lifted the curse to allow you to live there in more peace.
    The land had been cursed many years earlier, it was poisoned and unsafe for people, several had died there unaware of the issues you detail.
    This action was due to the discovery that you had registered as Nga uri Maori but we didn’t ask about that.

    I also know a little of what happened at the fire, he rōpū Maori were paid to destroy your house. I’m not sure of their names but they watched the house for several days first, they knew you were going away that weekend and planned it all. Some of your belongings from the house are still to be found around Kerikeri.

    It was a local group that decided to force you out of New Zealand.
    They had no idea of what would happen to you and there have been nga tautohe about how to help you but you left before we could do anything.

    He waimarie pai

    Hōne

    • comment-avatar
      cjrob224 April 14, 2018 (1:07 pm)

      My great grandmother was Maori, famous in her day. She enlisted at 16 years old as a MAN to go to the Great War and nobody noticed her age or sex at the time. On board the troop ship she was eventually discovered. She was moved to the nursing unit and had a six week intensive nurse training on board. Served at the front line hospitals throughout the war and married one of the soldiers she had nursed in 1918, stayed in the North of the UK, had five children and lived to 84yo! I met her once, a very grand old lady with over one hundred grandchildren. My only photograph of her, with me sitting on her knee, was destroyed in the Killara fire along with so many great photos of our family life. Fire destroys so much, we lost so much not just the money and valuables, they can be replaced, the memories locked into photographs and objects collected through you life cannot. I was proud of her, sadly I cannot even remember her name, the newspaper clippings with her story were destroyed too!

      I do remember the elders visit, I didn’t understand a lot of what happened but it was moving and kind of them to come and attempt to help, I guess the curse was to protect any potential Maori residents there and I guess I qualified, I was proud to put Maori on the immigration form and saddened by seeing the way NZ treats the proud race that bears that name. Please pass on my thanks and regards to the elders, I feel I may not have done so correctly at the time, we were all so ill due to the poisons.

      We had no option but to leave NZ, IAG with he Government and the Police produced more false documents and we had to leave, deported before they came and physically threw us out.

      If you can shed any more light on who caused the fire I would love to hear, the Police didn’t even investigate really, they were paid to point the evidence at me!

      Thank you once more.

      Chris and Ali Robinson

  • comment-avatar
    Bessy Fitzpatrick April 30, 2018 (2:55 pm)

    Looks like it was a lovely house, you must be so gutted, I’d be far more angry than you I’m sure.
    Reading this I can see you have tryed everything, all you can do is just keep on going, I guess the publicity is quite small now but it will be a thorn in their side for as long as your website is visible. Eventually they will cotton on that some people are not renewing or taking out new policies due to what happened to you and then they may act. For your sake I hope it is sooner rather than later.
    Really awful, I am so sorry for you
    God Bless
    Bess

  • comment-avatar
    Mayla Lewis May 6, 2018 (4:08 am)

    I was surprised by this, I didn’t realize how dreadful life in NZ could be. I left in 2009, it was getting very tight but it seems to have broken down totally f***ed now!

    How can the f-ing insurance company not accept your claims, some guys smashed into house and then razed it. Dosent take a sherlock to figure it out its bloody obvious mate.

    Here in Cali life is good if ground sits still but you have that in NZ to, Nz sucks, IAG sucks, no justice and no law – WOW! in 2018 f***ing amazing.

    Mayla L

  • comment-avatar
    Karl Hemmings May 9, 2018 (1:48 pm)

    I have sold thousands of IAG policies over the last ten years and hold shares in the company as do many of my associates and clients, this has shaken my belief in the company. When I read this page showing what actually happened I just cannot understand why the investigation wasn’t immediately concluded and your claims met. Reading other pages shows that the investigators created evidence, I may disbelieve your words but, as you state, the images show they lied to the Courts and frankly that is a disgusting reflection on IAG’s business policies. I am going to put a motion to the next AGM specifically asking about the business policies referring to your claim. I am sure I can get enough signatories to get it heard. You have shocked an old man who believed that Australian companies were the best in the world, clearly that is not so.