Heartbreak as Kaikōura wedding venue owners shut up shop

7:26 pm on 25 November 2016

A Kaikōura restaurant owner whose co-worker, Stephen Cochrane, died in the Christchurch earthquake will not reopen. She cannot face losing staff if a big aftershock hits.

Karen Barwick and her husband, Bruce, ran Cellar View. The wedding venue and restaurant sits on top of a hill looking across South Bay and the Kaikōura Ranges.

Standing in the wine cellar, Mrs Barwick broke into tears thinking about the events of the past week.

View RNZ's full coverage of the earthquakes here.

"The building is fine. There is nothing wrong with it, but we've lost everything inside. All our stock, the beautiful plates and things I spent so long picking out.

"We just can't afford to replace it all - our insurance excess is too much," Mrs Barwick said.

Karen Barwick and her husband Bruce Barwick ran a wedding venue in Kaikoura, Cellar View, the cannot afford to keep it running and Karen is too terrified someone could get hurt in another quake.

Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

She worked at a furniture store in Christchurch when the February 2011 earthquake struck. She moved to Kaikōura to start the business 17 months ago.

"One of my co-workers was killed at work. I saw what that did to my boss - he was never the same. It was like a flame went out in him.

"I can't reopen because I couldn't deal with it if I lost one of my staff while they were working here.

"If anyone was hurt or killed here I would never forgive myself," she said.

Mrs Barwick said it was devastating to walk away.

"We had amazing times here, we met some beautiful people, but our time is up."

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