The wharekai at Waikarā Marae in Northland has been destroyed by fire last night.
“When we turned up there was just black smoke everywhere,” said marae chairman, Jason Tane, “the building was pretty much gone by then.”
With the nearest fire station 40 minutes away in Dargaville, the locals quickly went to work to contain the blaze.
“The whānau just got together and we worked at containing it, so thankfully we saved our marae and kept the damages down to a minimum.”
Around 20 people used buckets of water and fire extinguishers to try and put out the fire.
Mr Tane said photos and taonga were pulled out of the wharenui next door as the haukainga focused on keeping its walls cool by dowsing it with water.
“We couldn’t save the wharekai so the next best thing is to save whatever else we can.”
They are now going through the insurance process.
We'll have more on this story today on Te Karere at 4pm, TVONE.