Topic: Crime

Woman arrested following urupā desecration

By Jessica Tyson
  • North Island: East Coast

Police have confirmed to Rereātea that a 46-year-old woman has been arrested in relation to the damage of headstones at an urupā at Raupunga, northern Hawke's Bay.

Sixteen headstones were destroyed sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning.

Ngāti Pāhauwera woman, Kaye Wesley was on her way to a funeral when she discovered that someone had destroyed her family's headstones.

"I wouldn't wish this on anyone, not anyone.  It's like we're burying our dead again, we've got to unveil them again.  It's broken our spirits," says Wesley.

She was visiting a brother she'd lost four years ago and was horrified to see the damage.

"I thought 'oh, the wind must have blown them over' so I went down to pick them up and tidy them up and it wasn't until I stood up and looked around, that's when I just went 'oh my god' and started freaking out, yelling and crying".

She decided to film what she saw and uploaded the video to Facebook. The video has since been viewed more than 150,000 times and shared almost 3,000 times by users.

Wesley told Te Kāea her family is looking at ways to restore the urupā.

Police have acknowledged the distress caused to whānau and have thanked the community for coming forward with information.