Offers roll in for quake-displaced photographer

12:30 pm on 12 December 2016

A Wellington photographer forced to pay rent for a studio he can't access following the Kaikōura quake has received offers for free work spaces, one of them from a complete stranger.

Parking building on Tory Street is in danger of collapse.

Parking building on Tory Street is in danger of collapse. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Lance Lawson is one of about 200 people forced to leave homes and offices pending demolition of the Reading cinema carpark in central Wellington, which was damaged in the 14 November earthquake.

His studio was sealed behind the city council's keep-out barriers, but he still has to pay rent.

However the public has rallied round to help.

"I got a phone call out of the blue from somebody I had never met before," Mr Lawson said.

"His first name's Dennis, a lovely man, and he said 'look, I have got three empty spaces of varying size and I heard about your plight and it should not happen to anyone'. So if you need some space just yell out and you can have it free for as long as required.

"I was just blown away, it was a wonderful gesture."

Mr Lawson said he would not name his benefactor because the man wanted to do a kind thing in private.

And this was not the only offer he got.

"One of my local cafes - Prefab in Wellington - the two owners, Jeff and Bridget heard of my plight and said they have got some spare warehouse space.

"They said, look, if you need somewhere to shoot or somewhere to set up a desk, feel free, just yell out, no charge.

"It is wonderful, human nature, it is brilliant."

Mr Lawson also has kind words for Wellington City Council, saying it agreed to open up his vacated building after the exclusion barriers went up and helped him retrieve goods from his premises.