18 Jun 2014

Marae fires spark warning

7:11 am on 18 June 2014

Two fires that gutted marae in the past week have prompted the Fire Service to urge pa committees to fit wharepuni with smoke alarms.

A fire tore through the Opotiki College marae at the weekend, and the Manu Ariki marae in Taumarunui was also destroyed by fire last week.

Fire Service national Maori advisor Piki Thomas said there appeared to be no working fire alarms at either site.

He said the Fire Service was encouraging marae committees to install alarms and consider taking extra safety measures to protect taonga within marae.

Mr Thomas said a lot of effort has gone into the carvings and tukutuku, and many photos were irreplacable, so it was important that marae were aware of the options available to protect them.