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Sculpture’s senseless tagging causes outrage

The defaced World War I memorial on the Remutaka Summit. PHOTO/FACEBOOK

Ex-mayor disappointed and saddened

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There is an outcry of disgust from the Featherston community about the person or people who vandalised the Remutaka Summit war memorial.

South Wairarapa District Council Mayor Alex Beijen confirmed the paint was removed from the sculpture before lunchtime on Thursday.

“Unfortunately, graffiti is a constant problem, and it is disappointing this continues,” Beijen said.

“But I am impressed that council staff rectified this problem immediately.”

Former South Wairarapa mayor and present Greater Wellington Regional Council representative Adrienne Staples was part of the small committee [which included Upper Hutt City Council] that drove the project to get the sculpture installed.

“I’m deeply disappointed and saddened,” Staples said.

“It is piece of artwork that is much admired and carries the spirit of every soldier that matched over the Remutakas.

“The culprits need to understand they have offended the mana of those men.”

Among the expletives on social media about the unknown vandals, and the ideas on suitable punishments for them should they be found, one person suggested cutting off a finger would be a possible solution to the problem.

“For a small fee, the finger on the spray can could be removed to prevent the habit,” they said.

Wairarapa Police asked anyone with information about the graffiti to come forward or report it to Crime Stoppers on the anonymous phone line: 0800 555 111.

The penalty for wilful damage [this includes graffiti] is a maximum fine of $2000 and maximum imprisonment of three months.

The memorial was designed by Wairarapa artist Niko Thomsen.

The steel figures are approximately 50cm tall and depict soldiers walking from a vehicle towards a woman with a pot of tea.

It was unveiled in September 2015 as part of the 100-year commemoration of New Zealand soldiers that fought in WWI.

About 60,000 New Zealand troops made the crossing from the military camp in Featherston to Hutt Valley.

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