The "brazen" theft of memorial plaques from an Auckland cemetery has exposed the ash urns of the deceased.
About 20 bronze plaques were discovered missing from the columbarium wall at Paparoa Howick Cemetery by Auckland Council staff on Tuesday.
The council describes the theft as brazen and says it will be very upsetting for families.
"It is deeply upsetting that these memorials have been tampered with and damaged," said cemeteries manager Catherine Moore.
The urns were exposed but have now been moved until the plaques can be replaced.
Police are investigating.