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Urupa headstones smashed

Desecration of a private cemetery at Raupunga will cost families tens of thousands of dollars to replace multiple headstones smashed in an attack over the weekend.

On Saturday morning, East Coast woman Kaye Wesley was on her way to a tangi when she stopped in at the urupa in Raupunga, a small settlement just south of Wairoa.

Ms Wesley posted a video to Facebook of the destruction she found after she visited the cemetery to pay respects to her brother.

All her whanau’s headstones were smashed, plants decorating graves tipped upside down and concrete borders on some of the graves were in pieces —leaving her “shocked”.

Someone must have heard it, she said.

“All I can say is, I’m so sad right now. To stop and see my whanau urupa and all my tipuna gravestones destroyed like this is beyond words.

“To the crazy low-life who did this, and yes we know who you are, may all your dreams be filled with the voices of my tipuna.”

Wairoa mayor Craig Little described the incident as devastating, especially for those who had family members interred at this private urupa.

“I am quite frankly disgusted that anyone would stoop this low,” said Mr Little.

“On behalf of Wairoa District Council, I would like to extend my thoughts to those families who have been affected by this atrocious act.”

Evans Funeral Services funeral director Gavin Nickerson said from what he could see on the video, not one of the gravestones could be repaired.

“They will all have to be replaced. A lot of them have concrete work around them. You are looking at thousands and thousands of dollars to put that right, and that’s just the financial side of it without the emotional impact.”

Almost $2000 has been raised to help restore the smashed gravestones. More than 50 people have donated to a Givealitle page called “Help restore and rebuild the mana of the Waihape Whanau Urupa (Cemetery)”.

“The main goal for the money raised from this campaign will be used to tidy up and restore the destruction caused and to help the family move forward and honour their tipuna (ancestors) in the way it was before the headstones were destroyed.”


A private urupa was attacked and 16 headstones were damaged. A Givealittle page has already raised $5000 to replace the headstones. Pictures supplied
Raupunga cemetery.
Raupunga cemetery.