Cricket legend, quake victim, now a fire evacuee - Chris Harris 'proud to be a Cantabrian' amid 'incredible support'

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Former Black Cap Chris Harris's pride in his home province has been reinforced by the support he's encountered, since his family had to evacuate in the early hours of Thursday, as the fire spread dangerously close to their rented home overlooking the Christchurch Adventure Park .

Seven Sharp spoke to one of Christchurch's favourite sons about what he went through.
Source: Seven Sharp

Harris, who's still waiting for the family's own home to be repaired following the earthquake six years, told Seven Sharp that about 400 houses above them were evacuated about midnight Wednesday.

"And so my wife and I thought there's a chance we may. So at about 4.30 this morning we got a knock on the door and it was a lovely young police lady who said 'look, I don't want you to panic, but get your things together and you need to evacuate'."

The family took passports, photos and a few essentials, and Harris went back for the computer, the whole evacuation process taking about 20 minutes. 

"Once we got onto the flat and away from it there's that sense of relief that everything's going to be okay. And even if it goes, it's not ideal but everything is replaceable. As long as the family's well. We've got the photos and the memories," he told Seven Sharp presenter Toni Street.

With 11 homes destroyed by the fires, Harris said his family is "one of the lucky ones" but he feels for the people who've had "massive issues" from the earthquake and have now lost homes in the fires.

It's sort of days, or nights, like this that you feel quite proud to be a Cantabrian."
Former Black Cap Chris Harris

"But Christchurch people have been so resilient. You look on Facebook and everybody's saying 'we've got rooms available, we don't know you but please if you need somewhere to stay come and see us.' And so the support out there has been absolutely amazing," he said.

The cricket legend and proud Cantabrian might have been through a lot, but the dual disasters are not making him reconsider living in Christchurch - not yet anyway.

He said there'd have to be "more water under the bridge" for him to think like that.

"But I think there's probably quite a few people going through that situation, thinking maybe it's time to move on. But I'm certainly not one of those. 

"And I think just the way how resilient the Christchurch people have been. The support for everyone has been absolutely incredible like it was in the earthquakes, and obviously for this fire as well. So it's sort of days, or nights, like this that you feel quite proud to be a Cantabrian."

One of Christchurch's favourite sons is staying right where he is.

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