Mystery surrounds the cause of a fire set beneath a well-known Napier tourist attraction.

Emergency services were called to a small fire under the Marine Parade viewing platform about 7pm on Tuesday. Someone at the nearby Art Deco Masonic Hotel had reported seeing flames, and black smoke coming from underneath the platform to police.

They had seen a person appear to light the fire, but had not been able to recognise any identifying features about them. It had not taken long for a fire crew to put out the fire.

Police had been treating the fire as a possible arson, but yesterday said it was not thought to be suspicious. A spokeswoman would not comment on the cause of the fire.


A Fire Service spokesman said it was believed to be a rubbish fire, but did not know how it started.

Yesterday Napier Mayor Bill Dalton said he would have been disappointed if the fire was deliberately set.

It would not have been the first time vandals targeted the 67m platform extending over Pacific Beach. Since being opened in December 2015 the glass viewing area has been smashed four times.

"It's incredibly disappointing that when we spend ratepayers money on trying to make the city a better and more attractive place for locals and tourists alike, that some turkeys somehow seem to like to smash up the good work.

"It makes you reluctant to spend money on things that you think may be damaged."

Several homeless people used to sleep under the platform. If they still did, Mr Dalton did not believe they would be the culprits.

"It is their home, and therefore they're unlikely to set fire to it."

The port side of the platform had been scorched with black marks from the smoke.

Other landmarks along Marine Parade have been compromised by repeated vandalism - like the nearby Veronica Sunbay, which used to have windows to help create a windbreak so people could sit there in comfort.