Arrowtowner staying put in Christchurch with his boys

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An Arrowtowner dealing with a commercial property hiccup in quake-torn Christchurch is happy to spend more time up there supporting his sons. 

Dave Gent had almost finished renovating an old Sumner building he bought eight months ago. 

After “semi-living” in Christchurch, he was about to lease it and return to the Wakatipu when the deadly quake struck last Tuesday. 

Gent’s now resigned to staying longer up there to try to get the property signed off by engineers, then fully leased.
A consolation is he’ll spend more time with his boys, Tane, 17, and Nemo, 14. 

Both go to Christchurch private school St Andrew’s College and are keen to remain, their dad says. 

“If your kids are still going to go to school there, you want to be closer to them,” says Gent, a former bass guitarist for rock group The Exponents. 

“This is when you pull together, this is when you don’t desert them. 

“It was quite comforting the other day to be able to zoom across town and check on them.” 

He’s proud that Tane – a former New Zealand under-17 soccer rep – returned to help his schoolmates on clean-up work after popping back home to Arrowtown for a night on the same day of the catastrophic shake. 

Gent senior was inside his 95-year-old building when the “super-violent” quake hit. 

“It felt like King Kong had picked the whole town up and banged it straight up and down.” 

Gent dived for safety out the back door. 

When he emerged back out front, there was a cloud of dust where a large boulder had crashed through the local RSA building, killing a workman next door. 

Gent says he helped some elderly people escape from a beachside apartment complex next door that was “buggered”. 

“All the doors were stuck in the jambs, I went there with a crowbar and got a few open.” 

In his own building, windows are broken and doors off-centre. 

“Everything’s just moved but it is wooden so hopefully we can bash it into shape. I’ll have some engineers in because you couldn’t trust putting anyone in it,” Gent says. 

“Financially it might be a bit of a bugger because I presume all property up there is going to take a bit of a dip in valuation.”