Firefighters battle the blaze at Maungawera Lodge
yesterday. Photo by Catherine Pattison
Three members of the Austrian ski team in New Zealand for
the Winter Games have been left without passports or spare
clothes after a fire engulfed part of the luxurious lodge in
which they were staying.
The blaze broke out in the eight-bedroom Maungawera Lodge, on
SH6 near Albert Town, about 3.15pm yesterday.
The lodge had been rented to the Treble Cone Race Academy,
which was accommodating 12 members of the Austrian ski team
Although some of the team members were at the lodge when the
fire started, no-one was hurt, academy director Guenther
''Three boys lost passports and all their belongings. They
are left with the clothes they have on their bodies.''
The team members did not know how the fire started, he said.
The lodge is owned by the Gore-based Stewart family, which
operates Leithen Valley Trophy Hunts.
It housed about 30 trophies collected by family members.
They included ''dad's grand slam'', Rachel Burke, said of her
father Alan's four rare North American sheep.
''He is one of the very few, if not the only one, in New
Zealand that have got it.''
The irreplaceable hunting trophy collection was hauled out of
the lodge when the fire broke out.
Mrs Burke, who works as Leithen Valley's marketing manager
and guide, said she and husband Olly had rented the lodge to
Mrs Burke did not attribute any blame for the fire and said
the lodge was insured.
A fire inspector will examine the scene this morning.
Lake Hawea Chief Fire Officer Doug Brenssell said a Lake
Hawea fire appliance and two from Wanaka attended.
The garage and storage area was ''fully involved'' when they
arrived. A bedroom and hallway were also extensively damaged.
The still-full swimming pool provided a water source
additional to the 20,000 litres from the appliances, Mr
''I think we emptied half of that pool.''