A Rainbow Youth drop-in centre in Tauranga’s Historic Village has been gutted by fire overnight, which police are treating as suspicious.
Police were called at around 12.45am on Thursday to the building on Seventeenth Ave following a report of a fire.
The building is shared by both Rainbow Youth and Gender Dynamix - an organisation which serves the area’s transgender and gender diverse communities.
Police have deemed the fire as “suspicious” and say they’re making inquiries along with Fire and Emergency NZ.
The fire has been deemed an arson attack by Rainbow Youth board member and activist Shaneel Lal.
It's also been condemned by Auckland Pride on social media, labelling it a “disgusting attack on our rainbow communities."
“Our heart breaks for rainbow communities in Tauranga waking up to this news this morning.”
Lal has since started a Givealittle page for the group, raising over $6,000 in just over an hour.
“The details of the attack are unknown. However, this is a very distressing time for Rainbow Youth and the queer community in Aotearoa, especially in Tauranga,” the Givealittle page reads.
“While we uncover the details, I am putting up this Give a Little for people to donate to Rainbow Youth during this time.”
All money from the fundraiser will be donated to Rainbow Youth.
"Irresponsible, salacious, and frankly shameful."
In a statement, police said the building was vandalised in the early hours of Thursday, June 2.
‘It was more about me accepting and embracing myself fully’