Auckland Council says a $50,000 bronze sculpture in the city’s Botanic Gardens was vandalised late last month.
The council said in a statement this afternoon that multiple pieces of the artwork were stolen from the Manurewa grounds.
The piece — a solar-powered water feature called Reservoirs by Richard Mathieson — was “a gift to Auckland city”.
Micheline Newton, manager of visitor services at the gardens, said it was dismantled on the night of December 30, with smaller bronze pieces and copper piping taken from the site.
“On Saturday [31 December], we found seven heavier pieces stashed in foliage nearby,” she said.
“We think whoever targeted this artwork may have intended returning the following night to take these large pieces as well.
“It’s disappointing, given all the hard work staff dedicate to ensure these facilities are maintained to such a high standard and our visitors have an exceptional experience,” she added.
And it’s not the first time the gardens have been targeted, the council said.
Bronze plaques were stolen just before Christmas, the council alleged, and valuable plants have been stolen “frequently”.
Another building adjoining the gardens was stripped of internal fittings in December, the statement added.
“If you see suspicious behaviour on site, please inform our staff immediately,” Newton said.
Viv Canham, Friends of the Auckland Botanic Gardens president, said it’s an “an incredibly saddening loss”.
“Aucklanders and visitors to our city will miss out, while staff at the Gardens have been dealt yet another blow.”
A police spokesperson told 1News it investigated but “unfortunately” due to a lack of evidence, CCTV footage and witnesses, no lines of inquiry were able to followed.
They encouraged anyone with information to contact police on 105. Information can also be provided to the gardens or the council.