The Fire Service is investigating the cause of a fire that destroyed a restaurant on State Highway 1 in the township of Te Horo, north of Wellington last night.
Brigades from Otaki, Levin, Waikanae, and the local Te Horo unit battled the blaze at the Red House Cafe.
Otaki MP Nathan Guy said the loss of the popular cafe would be a huge hit for the community.
Firefighters from Otaki, Levin and Waikanae were called in to help put out the blaze at the Red House Cafe in Te Horo but could not save it.
Mr Guy said the cafe was a hub for locals, and also attracted a lot of passing travellers because of its position on State Highway 1.
He said the owner was devastated.
Rod Clifton, who runs a car workshop and lives next door to the cafe, said the Red House was a hub and a fixture of Te Horo, and its loss would leave a big gap in the community.
Mr Clifton said he felt deeply for the cafe's owner and staff, who would lose their jobs.
President of the Otaki historical society, Ian Carson, said the building was a general store, and a post office, before becoming a cafe.
He said it brought in locals as well as people just passing through on State Highway 1, so it is a big loss for Te Horo.
No one was injured in the fire.