Jacinda Ardern's search ends: Newshub tracks down Heather from Papanui

Newshub has tracked down the "Heather from Papanui" the country has been searching for on behalf of the Prime Minister: Heather Maxwell - an artist.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern put a call out on Thursday to find her after meeting Saira Patel at a Mosque in Fiji. Patel lost her husband in the Christchurch terror attack and told Ardern of a woman who helped her.

"Her name was Heather and she was from Papanui and she drove Mrs Patel around Christchurch helping to find her husband with her," Ardern said.

"Mrs Patel would like to find Heather from Papanui, and I said that, being New Zealand and being the community that we are, I'm sure that we can find her and pass on her deep gratitude."

Heather Maxwell told Newshub she remembers Patel "crying and crying and crying" about her husband when she saw her at a friend's house that day.

"She didn't know if he was still alive or not and she wanted to go down to the mosque to see him.

"I didn't have my doctor son with me... I thought why can't I go? So I just got in the car and drove her down to where the mosque is."

Maxwell doesn't believe she was doing anything out of the ordinary.

"It wasn't kind, it was just a normal thing to do. There was no reason why I couldn't so I did."

Maxwell was unaware of the nationwide search for her or who sparked it.

"The Prime Minister didn't, did she? Oh I didn't know that, how funny," she said. "Well, hi Jacinda, how do you do?"

Newshub tracked down Heather Maxwell, an artist in Papanui, Christchurch.
Newshub tracked down Heather Maxwell, an artist in Papanui, Christchurch. Photo credit: Newshub

Ardern had earlier thanked her for her kindness.

"To Heather from Papanui, thank you for embodying the New Zealand spirit of generosity and kindness that we saw in the moments after that attack and I hope we can reunite you with Mrs Patel," Ardern said.

"I wasn't special I was just one of many I wasn't special," Maxwell said.

Patel had not left Maxwell's mind.

"About a month after that I went back with flowers for Saira but they had gone."

And as for the reunion, Maxwell would love that.

"Yes, I would like to meet her she was a very nice lady."

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