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Two Marae Fires in Three Days – Unacceptable Loss

Two Marae Fires in Three Days – Unacceptable Losses.

The Fire Service is disappointed that another marae has caught fire.

Hard on the heels of a severe marae fire in Rotorua, the northern town of Kaikohe has had to suffer the same fate - this time leaving little more than ashes as a reminder for its descendants. Around lunchtime today the Okorini marae was completely burnt to the ground. Appliances from Kaikohe raced to the fire but arrived to find the 107 year old wooden structure well ablaze and beyond saving.

“Again, this is an unfortunate but timely reminder for all marae to manage the risk of fire for our tupuna whare (ancestral houses) said Piki Thomas, Fire Service National Advisor - Maori. The Fire Service recommends smoke alarms, sprinklers & an escape plan for marae All meeting houses install smoke alarms to give occupants early warning of a fire and Install sprinklers to control any outbreak of fire. Develop an evacuation plan to ensure efficient evacuation of the building in the event of a fire.

As yet, the cause of the fire isn’t known however the fire isn’t thought to be suspicious.

"Marae should remember the Maori concept of manaaki tangata - the ethos of caring for one another - when thinking about marae fire safety.

“Marae need early fire detection systems to identify fires while they are small and an evacuation plan to provide a safe and speedy exit,” said Piki Thomas.

Fire Service staff are available to discuss marae fire safety options for each marae. A resource booklet is about to be released by the New Zealand Fire Service to promote fire safety for marae.

This is a free service that is available to marae committees and trusts.

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