Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke mourns loss of pouwhenua smashed to pieces in Lyttelton, Christchurch

Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke in Canterbury is mourning the loss of an intricate carving after it was vandalised. 

The piece called Kōauau o Tāne Whakapiripiri was smashed to pieces and police want to talk to anyone with information about it. 

The pou was carved by local Māori and was gifted to Christchurch City Council.

There was an outpouring of aroha from the Rapaki community. 

"It's sad; I think it represents a lot for the people in the area, the people who live in Rapaki," said resident Giulio Sturla.

As they mourn the loss of Kōauau o Tāne Whakapiripiri, smashed to pieces by vandals.

Caine Tauwhare carved the pouwhenua himself.

"[I] split it apart and hollowed it out and turned it into a wind instrument into a koauau which is a type of flute," he explained.

The easterly wind whistled through it, signifying the karanga of manuhiri (visitors) that used to take place at Ōtūherekio. It's now little more than a plinth. 

"It's really sad to know that that type of hatred still exists here, especially with all the grief that's happened in Christchurch over the last couple of years," Tauwhare said.

"The way that it was destroyed is certainly very saddening."

Kōauau o Tāne Whakapiripiri is one of two pou that were blessed in the Lyttelton area in 2012.

Ōhinehou still stands tall at Sutton Reserve, but the remains of the other have now been returned to Rapaki Marae. 

Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke chair Manaia Rehu says the pou was created with aroha for all to appreciate. He says while Ngāti Wheke is saddened by this act of vandalism, it's calling for calm.

"Take inspiration from ancestors, from Parihaka - they were imprisoned here in this harbour - and their philosophy of love," said Tauwhare.