A long-time commercial fisherman has lost much of his equipment and half his shed in a major fire near Kohukohu.

However, local firefighters managed to save Malcolm Pinkney's boat, chiller room and ice machine by dousing the flames until reinforcements arrived.

Fire service volunteer support officer Colin Kitchen was travelling on the Hokianga ferry from Rawene when he saw a grass fire across the harbour about 3.45pm on Thursday.

He alerted the fire service and rushed to the scene off West Coast Rd about 1km west of the Kohukohu ferry landing.


By then the blaze had spread to a large shed, measuring about 25m x 12m, which was the base for the fisherman's business.

Mr Kitchen helped the fisherman pull a wooden clinker boat out of the shed and some equipment, then went back to Kohukohu and joined the local brigade members on their fire truck.

A handful of firefighters battled the blaze on their own for 45 minutes until backup arrived from Okaihau and Kaikohe. A helicopter was also called out.

They managed to save one end of the shed housing a chiller room, ice-making machine and processing room. Firefighters spent almost four hours at the scene. Mr Kitchen commended the efforts of the Kohukohu brigade, saying that without them nothing would have remained of the fisherman's shed and livelihood.

An investigation is under way to find the cause of the fire.