A police dog handler has sustained a severe wound after being slashed with a knife while investigating an alleged arsonist.

The officer has "a long road to recovery" ahead of him after the knife attack earlier this week, said Inspector Keith Borrell, Taranaki Area Commander.

Inspector Borrell said the man was injured on Monday when police were called to a central New Plymouth address following reports a man was trespassing and setting fire to the property.

At the scene, police were attempting to make an arrest when the man allegedly attacked the dog handler with a knife.

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The officer received a serious cut to his arm, severing more than one tendon. He was admitted to hospital and has had surgery.

Inspector Borrell said the officer has since been discharged from hospital.

He said described the dog handler as being "upbeat despite the situation".

No one else was injured in the incident, said Inspector Borrell.

A 54-year-old man has been arrested and charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, setting fire to property, threatening to kill and wilful damage.

He has been remanded in custody to appear in the New Plymouth District Court on February 23.

Police would not be commenting further as the matter was before the courts, Inspector Borrell said.