Precious family heirlooms stolen in robbery

By Te Kāea
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

A Rotorua family is devastated after thieves robbed their home. Vernon Te Pou and his partner Wairuaiti Tumai returned from a holiday with their three children to find Christmas gifts gone and precious family heirlooms stolen.

The new year has brought grief to the family. Vernon Te Pou says, “when we came home, we saw the smashed window, then we came inside to see this. I never went straight into the rooms, I had to think to myself, why would you be rummaging through kids clothing? You can see the mess they left, while taking computer gear, baby clothes, and forestry gear.”

Beneath the mess, even more pain. As well as children's Christmas gifts, precious taonga were stolen, proudly worn during Waka Tauā and kapa haka, lovingly passed down through generations.

Wairuaiti Tumai says, “All the taonga were given from family, Vernon's taonga was given specifically from his mum who has past on.”

Vernon Te Pou says, “last night the thought came to mind about the history of my taonga. I was talking with my son he asked 'Dad where is your pig tusk taonga?' then I thought, I don't know, they must've taken it. I didn't think 'my prize possession' my son was hoping to ask me for it one day."

Despite the technology items and Māori taonga being stolen, a bracelet was taken that was gifted to Tangihia from her late aunty.

Wairuaiti Tumai says, “The heart weeps, because one of those items taken was given to my daughter, it was the last gift given from this particular aunty who left us recently.”

Repairing their home is easy, restoring their faith in mankind may take a little longer.