Two elderly people are in hospital after a house fire in the South Island.

The blaze broke out in the Seadown, South Canterbury, property just before 5am.

A St John Ambulance spokesman said a man and woman in the burning home suffered smoke inhalation.

The couple were taken to Timaru Hospital in a moderation condition.

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Four fire engines and five tankers helped battle the blaze that tore through the rural property before dawn.

Earlier, a blaze engulfed a home in Galatea near Whakatane.

Fire and Emergency northern shift communications manager Megan Ruru said fire ripped through a single-storey property about 2am.

The house was not occupied when the fire broke out.

Four crews attended the fire.

Fire investigators would be looking at the cause of the fire at first light.