The identity of a man accused of setting three fires at Auckland and Piha properties will remain a secret, for now, after threats were made on social media.

The 19-year-old, who appeared in the District Court in Tauranga today, faced three counts of arson and one count of burglary after a string of suspicious fires.

That included the alleged destruction of a Piha fish and chip store Adey's Place and a large scrub fire next to the store on May 7.

The man's duty lawyer Bruce Hesketh sought interim name suppression on the basis that there had been threats made on social media.


Other legal arguments made in support of the application cannot be revealed for legal reasons.

Judge David Cameron upheld the request for interim name suppression, despite strong arguments from NZME - the owner of the Herald and Bay of Plenty Times - that publication should be allowed in the interests of open justice.

The judge gave his reason for doing so as "threatening behaviour on social media sites".

However, the judge made it clear that the suppression order would be revisited at the defendant's next court appearance in Waitakere District Court next week.

The defendant, who did not seek bail, was remanded in custody and no pleas to the charges were entered.

Judge Cameron released the police summary of facts to the media.

The summary revealed that on May 4, the defendant is accused of entering a staff-only area at the ANZ Viaduct Event Centre in Auckland and approaching a recycling bin.

A short time later he allegedly set fire to the contents, and re-entered the public area of the building. A passing staff member noticed the blaze and called the Fire Service.

The recycling bin was next to gas cylinders used for cooking and there were 934 guests attending a function at the centre, along with catering and security staff.

It is further alleged that just after midnight on May 7, the defendant started a fire near the Tasman View walkway using an accelerant which developed into a large forest fire.

The fire threatened residential dwellings in the area, and residents had to

Numerous fire appliances and staff were involved in controlling the blaze, and the evacuation of properties threatened by the large bush fire.

Helicopters using monsoon buckets were required at daybreak to extinguish the fire and negate the threat to nearby dwellings, the summary said.

More than 7ha of natural reserve was destroyed and the fires created danger to life and property, the summary of facts said.

Police also alleged the defendant went to Adey's Place, a takeaway store in Marine Parade South, Piha and went inside to set it on fire.

The property sits between a residence and the Piha Surf Life Saving Club, which has a unit at the rear of the property.

The fire threatened neighbouring properties and the occupiers.

Adey's Place was extensively damaged, causing significant financial loss to the takeaway owner and the building owner.