Police are investigating two suspicious fires that destroyed sheds in the Far North over the weekend - one on a farm and the other at a rugby club.

The fire that destroyed much of a large shed on a North Hokianga farm on Saturday morning has been referred to the police for investigation.

Fire investigator Craig Bain, who inspected the scene on Runaruna Rd, between Broadwood and Panguru, said he believed the fire had been deliberately lit.

However, he found no evidence of calves or dogs dying in the blaze, as initially reported.


NZME was told on Saturday that a number of dogs and a couple of dozen calves had died but Bain said all had been rescued.

Kaitaia deputy fire chief Ross Beddows said there had certainly been a lot of calves in the immediate vicinity.

"At one point I turned around and one was chewing on my hose," he said.

Twenty firefighters from Broadwood, Ahipara, Kohukohu and Kaitaia responded when the alarm was raised at 6.30am.

Beddows said the fire had started in a smaller shed, where the calves were housed, then spread to a much larger open-sided implement and equipment shed, whose contents included three trucks. The tyres on two of the vehicles were burning when firefighters arrived.

The Broadwood crew did what they could until further resources, including Kaitaia's water tanker, arrived and more water was taken from a nearby farm tank.

Firefighters using breathing apparatus had tried to save the trucks but by that stage the smaller structure had collapsed.

The Kohukohu crew were the last to leave, about 11am, after dampening down.

Firefighters could not save the shed but did prevent the flames from spreading to other buildings. Photo / Peter Jackson
Firefighters could not save the shed but did prevent the flames from spreading to other buildings. Photo / Peter Jackson

Meanwhile another Far North fire, which razed a shed at Te Rarawa Rugby Club's home field at Ahipara, is also being treated as suspicious.

The blaze started just after 2pm on Sunday, destroying the shed and contents, including a truck load of mānuka firewood.

Ahipara and Kaitaia fire brigades responded.

Police and fire investigator Craig Bain were due to examine the remains of the shed on Monday afternoon.

There was nothing fire crews could do to save the shed but they pulled sheets of iron away to open it up for the hoses, preventing damage to another small shed on one side and the main clubrooms building, immediately adjacent on the other.

Beddows said the shed was not connected to power, which eliminated one potential explanation, but the word at the scene was that children had been seen running shortly before the alarm was raised.