3 Jun 2014

Waka escapes extensive fire damage

7:16 pm on 3 June 2014

The Hamilton City Council's kaumatua representative is relieved a 200-year-old tribal waka at the Waikato Museum escaped being extensively damaged by an accidental fire.

The Sunday night blaze was started by linseed oil rags, which the council says are sometimes prone to spontaneous combustion.

The Maori King's kaumatua representative on the council Tame Pokaia said carvers would be looking at what they use.

He said the canoe, Te Winika, didn't sustain any major damage thanks to museum water sprinklers.

Mr Pokaia said there was only minor smoke and fire damage. He said the carvers, who would be responsible for its repairs, were also relieved the fire wasn't worse.

Te Winika was gifted to the council by the late Maori Queen, Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu.

The two-century old waka, was restored in the 1930s, after being buried in mud for 70 years.