Download The Wellington App for more stories like this.

Fire badly damages prominent Wellington marae

Firefighters battling a large blaze at a Wellington marae have saved the main meeting house.

Tapu Te Ranga Marae in flames. Photo: Supplied / Plucky Pīwakawaka

The main building at Tapu Te Ranga Marae in Island Bay has collapsed in the blaze and other surrounding buildings have been compromised.

Firefighters are continuing to dampen down hotspots at the marae and expect to be there most of the day.

They were called to the fire about 12.30am.

Children who have visited the marae have dubbed it Maori Hogwarts. Photo: RNZ/Daniela Maoate-Cox

A specialist fire investigator will look into what caused the fire.

Tapu Te Ranga was built in 1974 by the homeless, unemployed, troubled youth and former prisoners who were guided by the late rangatira and founder Bruce Stewart. It opened in 1983 and was built largely from recyclable materials.

Bruce Stewart Photo: Supplied / Bruce Stewart

Tapu Te Ranga has seen people from all walks of life use its whare for classes, wānanga, workshops, tours, and accommodation.

Whānau organised fundraising initiatives from 2017 after Wellington City Council found many of its buildings unsafe.

It’s involved in several community projects including a major reforestation scheme.