A kōhanga reo in Patea has been damaged by fire.

Firefighters from Patea and Hawera arrived at Dorset St at about 12.36am on Sunday to see the building was well-alight.

A Fire and Emergency New Zealand spokesperson said three appliances and two special units were called to the scene to extinguish the blaze.

"They were well and truly clear of it by eight o'clock in the morning," she said.

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"But they did go back a second time because there was a bit of smoke coming from the building."

A fire investigator examined the scene later on Sunday.

Nobody was reported as being in the building at the time it caught fire.