The Nelson Fires – HUHA’s Emergency Shelter

Carolyn Press McKenzie and her husband, Jim McKenzie, the founders of HUHA, were attempting to have one day to themselves and dressed up for a tea-with-the-Governor-General afternoon on Waitangi Day, Wednesday the 6th. The number of times that an animal rescue has interrupted Carolyn and Jim’s efforts to have a day away are now so many that it is a standing joke. Carolyn even tempted the gods by wearing a very pretty dress. Sure enough, concerns came through that there was a fire in Nelson and it was looking like it could become a problem. Carolyn didn’t even go back home – she went to Macpac to get some appropriate clothes while Jim booked her a flight. She was in Nelson Wednesday night.

In two days, she organised a temporary animal shelter that would take 956 animals. And the animals and the volunteers and the distressed owners of the animals and everyone all came. It has been a huge thing, an emotional rollercoaster, a lifesaver, something we would all be so crushingly glad for if/when we are obliged to evacuate with all our animals in tow and nowhere to go.

It is hard to imagine who you have to be to make this happen – the knowledge, the courage, the drive, the ability to stay awake for days. We are so proud of Carolyn, her HUHA team and all those volunteers and owners who made this extraordinary thing happen.

Keen as we are to get all the details, we have to wait – as we write there are still fires and the shelter is still going at the showgrounds. Until we get them back to give you the whole story, here are some news clips to give you a taste.


This beautiful photo above, which sums up so much, was taken by the very talented and special friend of HUHA’s – Jo Moore


Nelson bush fire: Richmond’s land-based ark caring for evacuated animals (9 February 2019)

Shelter created for hundreds of animals evacuated from their homes in Tasman region (9 February 2019)

Tasman fire: Evacuated pets and stock in best of hands – 10 February 2019

A live face book video by HUHA’s Carolyn Press McKenzie and Claire Thornton