Robinson says they were blindsided.

“I feel a little numb, I suppose. The first thing that comes to you, is why? Unless someone was looking at it to cut up to be carved, I really can’t answer why they would do it.”

Robinson says the history behind the stone is legendary.

“It was found by one of the local miners on the West Coast. It was about five tonnes. It was delivered up to the marae on a front-end loader – an amazingly huge stone for the tribe.”

It took hundreds of hours to carve before it was blessed and unveiled at the spa in 2017, RNZ reported.

Abbot says the community is hurting.

“It’s a pretty low act. In fact, it’s a very low act… the criminal, he’s done something pretty nasty.”

Abbot hopes someone out there has information that can lead to its recovery.

Police have asked for assistance from the public. 

“If you recognise the individual pictured, or have any information that could assist Police in their investigation into the theft, please contact Police on 105 and quote file number 200111/9331,” said a statement released on Saturday.

Information can also be provided anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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