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Sir John Key’s Maui home close to devastating fires
PHOTO: Sir John Key. NZHERALD
Sir John Key has conveyed profound sorrow regarding the wildfires that are devastating large areas of Maui, a place where his family has owned a home for a decade and a half.
Expressing his sentiments, Key shared, “The situation is incredibly disheartening, as our hearts go out to the island’s inhabitants. The scale of destruction and loss of life is heart-wrenching, and the impact on people’s livelihoods is truly distressing,” as he spoke to Stuff.
Key and his wife, Bronagh, had initially intended to travel to Hawaii on Thursday evening. However, they chose to cancel their plans, recognizing the strain already placed on the island’s resources. Key explained, “We made the conscientious decision not to further burden an already overwhelmed system. It would be unfair to compound the existing challenges.”
Detailing the location of their house, Key mentioned, “Our residence is fortunately situated at a considerable distance from Lahaina.” He noted that the historic district had suffered substantial damage from the fires.
Having a deep familiarity with the region, Key estimated that the recovery of Lahaina would be a prolonged process, especially considering the emphasis on preserving its historical character. He remarked, “Rebuilding Lahaina will be an extensive and intricate endeavor, compounded by the fact that the island’s isolation necessitates a protracted and gradual reconstruction process.”
MATTHEW THAYER/AP. Smoke blows across the slope of Haleakala volcano on Maui, Hawaii.
Reflecting on Hawaii’s struggle during the pandemic, particularly its tourism-dependent economy, Key observed, “The people exhibit resilience; they maintain a brave facade and persevere. Yet, beneath the surface, profound sadness pervades. The islanders have weathered the adverse effects of Covid-19, enduring prolonged shutdowns without the comprehensive government support witnessed in other locales. They were largely left to navigate the challenges on their own.”
Offering condolences, former US President Barack Obama, a native of Hawaii, conveyed his sympathy in a statement, “The distressing images emerging from Hawaii are difficult to witness. Hawaii holds a special place in the hearts of many. Michelle and I extend our thoughts to those who have lost loved ones or whose lives have been upended.”
Key remains connected with the former President, with whom he has spent time in Hawaii. Key shared, “I intend to reach out to him and have a conversation about this.”
Looking ahead, Key revealed his plans, “I am aiming to return to Hawaii in time for the Christmas season.