19 May 2015

Iwi radio station up in smoke

7:49 pm on 19 May 2015

More than a million dollars worth of broadcasting equipment and buildings have been destroyed in a blaze at a Northland iwi radio station.

Part of the station razed in the fire

Part of the station razed in the fire Photo: Tautoko FM, Mangamuka

Fire Service spokesperson Scott Osmond said about 20 firefighters were called to the Tautoko FM building in Mangamuka last night.

He said the two-storey building was well alight when they arrived, about 7pm, and had been significantly damaged.

Tautoko FM became the first Maori broadcaster in Te Tai Tokerau when it launched in 1988. It hopes to be back on air today.

The Tautoko FM crew following the fire.

In a Facebook post the Tautoko FM crew thanked people for their support. Photo: Facebook / Tautoko FM

It is the tribal radio station for the country's largest iwi, Ngāpuhi.

There were no staff in the building at that time as the station was linked in to the iwi radio network.

The station's manager said although the radio station was in cinders he was thankful no-one was hurt.

Hori Chapman said the main job now was to get the station back on air.

"It's absolutely devastating. Our whole operations are at a stand-still at the moment," he said.

"All of our broadcasting equipment has been destroyed in the fire along with all our operations, and our governance side of the organisation has all been destroyed in the fire.

"We're envisaging that we'll be back on air by tomorrow."

Mr Chapman said while Tautoko FM is government funded, it would be relying on the community to help with the rebuild.

He said the equipment and the buildings are valued at more than $1 million.

In the meantime, a technician is travelling from Tauranga to set up a make-shift radio station.