Two people accused of starting a fire that destroyed two Taupō shops have both been granted name suppression.

The man and woman, who was crying, appeared in the Rotorua District Court today before Judge Philip Recordon.

They both pleaded not guilty to arson last year, after the Tongariro St fire on November 30.

They have also pleaded not guilty to four other charges of theft of mail, theft of a parcel, theft of a motor vehicle and burglary.


They have elected a trial by jury - but the date is yet to be set.

Up to 50 firefighters fought the early morning blaze that spread across three shops, cut power and closed a main road.

The ceilings in Taupō Sushi and Hamills (an outdoor clothing and goods store) collapsed, and the blaze took crews from Taupō, Rotorua, Kinloch, Tokoroa, and Ngāruawāhia two hours to control.

Fire Emergency New Zealand was first alerted to the smell of smoke at 1.15am.

There were no reports of injuries.

Later that day, the man was arrested in Auckland and the woman was arrested in Taupō.

Police had a scene guard in place and conducted an examination of the fire area.

The two accused will reappear for a call-over on July 26.