Investigations find fire on Mauao deliberate

By Mere McLean
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

Investigations into the cause of the fire which broke out on Mauao have found the blaze was deliberate.

Access to Mauao is currently open to the public.

Awanuiārangi Black (Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Pukenga) says, "Firstly I am saddened for our mountain, our ancestral mountain."

Part of the northeast side of Mauao was damaged.  Fire Controller Manager Alan Pearce says the results of their investigation point strongly towards a deliberate attempt to cause a fire by throwing fireworks from the top of the mount.

Black says, "We should be thanking those people who helped put out the fire but on behalf of the people we express our sadness that this happened."

Black is a trustee of the Mauao Trust, which is the caretaker of the mountain.  He says the damaged area is still off-limits to the public.

"We will be meeting shortly with our elders, the caretakers of the mountain, to discuss and find solutions to restore the mountain," he explains.

Investigations on the fire continue. Tauranga Police are also seeking any information from the public.

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