Ballentynes Disaster. Covering over an acre of land in central Christchurch, New Zealand. Ballentynes Department store, which was considered the "Harrods" of New Zealand, was engulfed by flames within a matter of minutes, killing 41 people. It was the worst fire disaster in New Zealand to this day. All 41 people including 31 women were buried in a mass grave at Ruru Cemetery in Christchurch. The Coroner found that delays in calling the fire brigade, had contributed to the disaster.