Tauranga police treating fire near Tamapahore Marae as suspicious

By Mere McLean
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

Tauranga Police have a number of suspects relating to a fire that took place at the Mangatawa Incorporation building at 11pm on Tuesday night.  The building is situated behind the Tamapahore Marae in Tauranga. 

Mangatawa Blocks Inc. manages Māori land and its offices are situated behind Tamapahore Marae. This building has been here for over 25 years.

Chairman of Mangatawa Incorporation, Kevin Haua says, “It doesn't matter who, whether it’s Māori or Pākehā. This act is pretty despicable and if it was deliberately lit.” 

Haua says a lot of decision making for their people has taken place in this building.

“Developing their lands and getting the best we can out of lands for the good of the Rangatahi. We have education grants and all that sort of stuff and as you can see we are building houses and that for our people.”

Tauranga Police say there has been a number of fires reported recently, but this one could have hurt someone.  

Investigator, Alan Kingsbury says, “Somebody has set fire to a building. It's on or near a marae and we treat that very seriously.”

Police are treating the fire as suspicious and they have a message for all.

“We are appealing for further information from any members of the public and members of the community to help us resolved this situation,” says Kingsbury.

Administration at the Mangatawa Incorporation building has been put in limbo until the fire investigation and insurance is completed.