Police say a fire that destroyed a hut in Te Urewera ranges was deliberately lit and could have caused strife for hunters or fishermen expecting to have shelter for the night.

Detective Sergeant John Wilson of the Rotorua CIB, who also leads the Rotorua police search and rescue squad, said the Midway Hut, in the Horomanga Stream catchment area east of Galatea, was found burnt to the ground on March 11.

He said police were working with Tuhoe and the Te Urewera board to establish exactly what happened. It is unclear exactly when the fire happened but it is believed to have been the day or evening before it was discovered.

Mr Wilson said police carried out an examination on Saturday.


"With no definitive cause for the blaze this leads us to the determination that this was a deliberate act," Mr Wilson said.

"Due to its relative close proximity to the Galatea access to Te Urewera, this hut was well used and will be sorely missed by hunters and fishermen using the area. It also raises concerns for the safety of people using the area.

"If you were using the area and were reliant on using the hut for shelter and were unaware it was no longer there you could find yourself in some strife if you were unprepared."

Mr Wilson said he wanted to hear from anyone who was in the Horomanga Stream catchment area over the week beginning March 7.

"This applies particularly to anyone who may have used the hut shortly before it was burnt down."

Anyone with any information is urged to contact their local police station or contact Crimestoppers confidentially on 0800 555 111.