An two-storey house near Panguru was completely destroyed by a blaze on Thursday.
The fire started in the shed of the home, which was joined to the two-storey house, in an isolated property off West Coast Rd.
Kaitaia volunteer Fire Brigade Deputy Chief Fire Officer Ross Beddows said just after midday, the owner noticed smoke coming from the shed next to the house.
However, the owner was working with beehives several hundred meters away from the building. It was burning fiercely by the time he reached the building, Mr Beddows said.
"He could do nothing other than ensure everyone was out of the adjoining two-storey dwelling, which was soon alight as well."
By the time the nearest fire crew — from Kohukohu — arrived, the building was fully alight and collapsing.
Appliances from Ahipara, Broadwood and Kaitaia also attended but nothing could be done but dampen down the remains.
Investigations are continuing into the cause of the blaze.