Tips & Tricks

A guide to using your HOOGA Outdoor Fireplace.

Under New Zealand Fire and Emergency guidelines, a HOOGA Outdoor Fireplace falls within the category of a chiminea or pizza oven.

If your HOOGA is fitted with an enclosed mesh spark arrestor, you can use it in a restricted fire season provided you follow the safety requirements outlined on the Fire and Emergency website.

You’ll find these safety requirements at www.checkitsalright.nz

Our company, The Department of Good Times Limited, accepts no responsibility for any damage or tragedy arising from foolish or dangerous use of a HOOGA.

Please use common sense.

Use outdoors only.

Choose a surface that is stable and level – and move your HOOGA into position before lighting.

Make sure it is well away from buildings, structures, vegetation and any other combustible objects.

Check wind strength and direction.

Never light your HOOGA if there’s a risk of wind blown sparks being a danger to people or property.

Watch out for children.

The surfaces of a HOOGA become very hot and are a danger to little fingers.

Please ensure undersized humans (and pets) are well supervised around the fire.

Check local fire laws.

It’s up to you to ensure you are using your HOOGA legally.

Keep your guard up.

Never leave a HOOGA unattended, even for short periods, without putting the guard up.

Leave your HOOGA outside. Let nature do its thing.

Your HOOGA fireplace is made with Corten steel – also known as weathering steel because it develops a golden, rusty surface when left to weather outdoors. Once the surface is fully rusted, the steel underneath is effectively sealed and protected – unlike mild steel, which keeps on rusting. This weathering process takes a few weeks, so don’t be alarmed if at first your HOOGA looks a bit patchy.

Build the base

How to light your HOOGA.

HOOGAs are made for people who love lighting BIG fires.

Here’s how we do it:

  • Only ever use dry wood. Wet wood is bad for the air and never burns properly.
  • When setting the fire, start with the small stuff. Use paper, pinecones, lots of kindling, smaller pieces of wood, or whatever else you have at hand to fill the base of the HOOGA. If you have any cabbage trees growing on your property, the dried dead leaves make brilliant fire starters, so load heaps of them in under your kindling.
  • Once you’ve lit the fire and have a good blaze going, keep loading in smaller pieces of wood. You want to build up a hot base ready for the bigger logs.
  • Don’t go large too early. We can’t say it enough – build that hot base before putting on the big logs.
  • If wood isn’t burning – it’s either not dry enough or there’s not enough heat being generated for combustion.
  • Remember: the harder the wood (e.g. gum, kanuka, fruit woods) the more heat you need for efficient combustion.

One other thing… HOOGAs work best when the steel is hot.

If you’re having a HOOGA with friends, we recommend lighting the fire about thirty minutes before they arrive. 

That way it will have time to really get cranking.