A farm cottage in the remote Pukeokahu area near Taihape burned to the ground on Monday, Taihape chief fire officer Alan Troon said.

The woman who lived there was away at the time.

The volunteer fire crew was alerted to the fire just after midday.

It took 31 minutes to get to the site on Kaiangaroa Station and by that time the small building was "virtually on the ground".


Two Taihape appliances went, plus the Mangaweka water tanker. They stayed for two hours, to damp down dry grass around it and preserve what was left so that fire safety officers could look for a cause.

A woman who worked at nearby River Valley Lodge lived in the cottage but she was at work at the time of the fire. She had moved in just before Christmas.

"It's devastating when you lose everything like that," Mr Troon said.

River Valley receptionist Janelle Strange said that the woman was fine and staff were helping her.

Fire safety officers were still investigating the cause of the fire.