Police are investigating a suspicious fire at a newly built home for employees at a Chinese-owned resort in the Far North.

The fire was spotted about 6.30pm on Wednesday by a resident whose home overlooks 12 new houses built for Shanghai CRED, the company that bought the 1000ha Carrington Resort, golf course and winery on the Karikari Peninsula in 2013.

The new houses are on Banyan Rd in Whatuwhiwhi, close to the Top Ten Holiday park also owned by Shanghai CRED.

The resident who raised the alarm and Kaitaia fire chief Colin Kitchen, who lives nearby, used fire extinguishers to subdue the blaze until the Karikari Rural Fire Party arrived. They were followed by fire crews from Rangiputa, Mangonui and Kaitaia.


Mr Kitchen said the blaze started under a deck. No one was home at the time. The fire was suspicious because there was no power supply in the area where it started and no other source of ignition. Damage was limited to the deck. Mangonui police and a fire safety officer are investigating.

Meanwhile, an unoccupied house burned to the ground at Pukenui, about 50km north of Kaitaia, in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

By the time the fire was reported, around 2am, there was little left for the Pukenui Rural Fire Party to save.

Fire chief Warren Bunn said his immediate concern was to make sure no one was inside the Burnage Rd home, off Whalers Rd just south of Houhora.

However, the tenants had moved out a few weeks earlier, although power was still connected.

Two Pukenui crews were backed up by two appliances from the Kaitaia Fire Brigade. With no suitable water supply in the area, firefighters had to shuttle water from the Pukenui station about 2km away.

That blaze was not thought to be suspicious. A fire safety officer is investigating.