Tauranga police are investigating a suspicious fire which occurred in Tareha Lane in Te Maunga last night.

The fire was noticed by local residents just after 11pm and a number of fire appliances attended and put out the fire.

As a result of the fire, extensive damage was caused to a wooden deck as well as the side of an administration building on the Tamapahore Marae.

Firefighters said this morning it was possible a discarded cigarette could have started the blaze.

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Police detectives and fire investigators from the New Zealand Fire Service have been involved in conducting a scene examination this morning.

In a statement released this afternoon, police stated that until forensic testing is completed, police were unable to say exactly what caused the fire, however it was being treated as suspicious.

Detective Sergeant Alan Kingsbury said that police were interested in hearing from anybody who was in the area at the time and who may have seen suspicious behaviour.

He further stated that it is likely that people in the community will know who was responsible.

Detective Sergeant Alan Kingsbury said that it was too early to say whether or not the fire was connected to recent fires which have occurred in the Papamoa area.