A whānau in Taihape is looking for answers after their family member's headstone was vandalised late last week.
The headstone belonged to the son of Gillian Conlon and it was specially made for him for his unveiling in April.
“We had a beautiful taonga made especially for Tamati and on Monday I got a call from the council and the police to say his taonga had been smashed over the weekend,” says Conlon.
She says the headstone was vandalised sometime between the afternoon of Friday 25 May to midday on Saturday 26.
Before and after the taonga was destroyed. Source: Gillian Conlon
“We’re mind-blown. We don’t know why somebody would do something so senseless, disrespectful. We just can’t understand it at all,” she says.
“It’s not only an insult to us and our last gift to Tamati, it’s also an insult to the carver who put so much work into making his headstone”.
The police have told the family they are unable to further investigate the incident unless the family hears hear more information about how it may have occurred.
“So we’re trying to reach out as far as we can on social media and hope that somebody comes forward and tells us something, anything,” says Conlon.
The family is planning to have another taonga made, but not just yet, says Conlon.
“At the end of the day they’ve tried to destroy our memory, but they’ll never destroy our memory”.
The incident comes following the desecration 16 headstones at an ūrupa in Raupunga, Hawke's Bay last month.