Ōwairaka/Mt Albert protesters have been left shaken after a fire broke out at their campsite early this morning while several people were sleeping in a nearby tent.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) responded to a "small rubbish fire" near the main gate of the Mt Albert domain off Summit Drive at 2.56am.

"One fire truck with four firefighters were sent to the scene to extinguish a small rubbish fire," FENZ shift manager Paul Radden said.

Protest leader Anna Radford told the Herald it was a "disgusting act" and everyone in the group was "absolutely shocked".

Advertisement

"But we are still committed to saving the trees."

She said the police had been informed.

READ MORE:
Ōwairaka/Mt Albert tree protesters slammed as 'woke, entitled Pākehā' at maunga hui
Mt Albert protesters say police, arborists arrived before dawn to start chopping down trees
Protesters block removal of 350 trees at Ōwairaka/Mt Albert
Tūpuna Maunga Authority holding hui this Thursday on Ōwairaka/Mt Albert but protesters staying away

FENZ would not comment on whether or not the fire was suspicious.

A witness, who did not want to be named, said everyone was shaken and directed all media enquires to protest leader Radford.

The fire destroyed a wooden display stand holding information cards.

A Wooden display that help placards burnt down, very close to where at least one person was sleeping in tents, and at the protest site near the main gate. Photo / Supplied
A Wooden display that help placards burnt down, very close to where at least one person was sleeping in tents, and at the protest site near the main gate. Photo / Supplied

Radford said several people were sleeping in a nearby tent about 15 metres away from the fire.

About five tents and one marquee were set up at the campsite.

Advertisement

The group are protesting plans to remove hundreds of exotic trees from an Auckland maunga.

The Tūpuna Maunga Authority (TMA), which co-governs the city's 14 tūpuna maunga (ancestral mountains), plans to remove 345 exotic trees from Ōwairaka/Mt Albert and plant 13,000 natives as part of a long-term restoration project.

But the group of protesters have occupied the maunga since November 11, preventing contractors from starting what was meant to be a month-long job.