A man who watched the Port Hills fire raze his family home this morning says he doesn't want to believe the devastation is real.
Henry Reese, 22, and his family were evacuated from the home his parents have lived in for 25 years about 3pm yesterday and saw their neighbours' home burn to the ground about 6pm.
When daylight broke this morning RNZ was there as Mr Reese watched the Worsleys Road house go up in flames at about 7.45am.
"That house that just caught fire about 10 mins ago is our house," he said. "It survived the night and then no choppers [were] up there in the morning and obviously a little fire started up and there was no-one there [to protect it]."
"Right now it looks like our house is getting destroyed. It's a bit of a shame, quite a big shame… It's quite a beautiful family house."
On the phone to his family, Mr Reese told them if they arrived quickly they would be able to see the last part of their house before the flames finished it off.
"It's still hard to believe. I barely trust myself that that's our house but it certainly looks that way. I don't want to believe it."
"Even when we were evacuated, we didn't think this would be the last time in this house. Can't believe it," he said.