A Napier community and marae leader is regathering the pieces of a lifetime after his home was gutted by fire in a Queen's Birthday blaze at Waiohiki, near Taradale.
Roy Pewhairangi, the chairman of Napier Maori authority Te Taiwhenua o Te Whanganui a Orotu and who sat as the area's representative on the board of Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Inc, was raised in the house just south of Waiohiki Marae, and on the opposite side of the road.
He has been a committee member at the marae, which is currently headed for a major rebuild stemming from a fire 14 years ago, and he has also been prominent in the Wai 168 Waiohiki Claim before the Waitangi Tribunal, part of a package of claims currently under negotiation for settlement with the Crown.
Mr Pewhairangi, 60, was at home with a teenaged stepson early on Monday night when the fire was discovered in the rear of the house. Attempts to attack the flames with a garden hose had to be abandoned, with the Taradale Volunteer Fire Brigade and Fire Service Napier crews arriving to find much of the building ablaze.
While the Fire Service investigation is ongoing, it is understood to most likely have been caused by an electrical fault in a bedroom.