Forty years of sporting history have been destroyed in an arson attack on a shed containing Swimming Northland's archives.
The fire razed a shed next to Kawakawa's indoor pool used to store photos, race records, reports and other documents from the founding of Swimming Northland in 1972 until 2008.
Kawakawa fire chief Wayne Martin said the call came in at 6.01am yesterday but the roughly 5m x 3m wooden shed was well ablaze when the brigade arrived at Derrick Rd. The fire took five minutes to bring under control and 15 to put out, he said.
Far North fire investigator Gary Beer said the fire had been deliberately lit, probably by someone reaching through a broken window, taking papers from a bookshelf, lighting them and dropping them inside.
The shed's power supply had been disconnected, so an electrical cause could be ruled out.
Mr Beer said it was more than likely that the achievements of the arsonist's own family members had been recorded in the destroyed archives.
"Those records would, in time, have been significant to the community. To lose them is quite a tragedy, really," Mr Beer said.
The blaze was just one of a series of intentionally lit fires in the Kawakawa-Moerewa area in the past few months.
Police were collating details of the fires in a bid to find the offender.
Swimming Northland vice-president Celia Honiss, of Kerikeri, said all she had been able to recover from the charred remains was one box of photos, but even they had been damaged.
The association, which covers swimming clubs from Kaitaia to Bream Bay, celebrated its 40th anniversary in August 2012.
Among the lost records were photographs, race results, financial reports, accounts, books, and documents relating to lifesaving and competitive diving.
Long-time member Richard Dunkerton, of Bream Bay, had compiled a history of the association to mark its 40th anniversary, so Ms Honiss hoped he had kept copies of the records he used.
In a twist, Ms Honiss was going through the few remaining records when she flipped open to a page recording the swimming exploits of a young Wayne Martin, the firefighter who was at that very moment dampening down the ruins.
Call Kawakawa police on (09) 404 3150 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111, if you know anything about the arson attack.