Residents of Lake Ohau beginning to rebuild after devastating fire

Piece by piece Hugh Spiers and Dwayne Rennie are putting their lives back together after New Zealand's most damaging wildfire tore through their home in Lake Ohau. 

It's been four months since the fire ripped through their lakeside paradise and there's progress as forestry contractors chip away at the charred earth.

Forty-eight homes were destroyed when the out-of-control fire ripped through this remote village last October.

The terrifying and traumatic experience saw Spiers and Rennie flee their home in the dead of night with just their pets.

It wasn't enough to drive the couple away permanently - they're planning to rebuild here as soon as they can.

"We're just waiting on a few ticks but the Council are really behind us all. We've got a good working relationship with them," said Spiers. 

And they're not alone - across the village there are signs of a community emerging from the ashes. 

Spiers says everything's coming up.

"I think by this time next year it's all going to be not back to normal as there's no such thing as normal - but things are great."

A community driven out by disaster, determined to return and rebuild.