Teachers at Ngahina Kindergarten in Paraparaumu arrived at work recently to a kicked in mural, broken and damaged storage shed and a smoldering fire after a thoughtless act of vandalism overnight.
Damage included a significant hole kicked into the sandpit shed which features a colorful mural, and damage to the kindergarten's storage shed which is now secured closed after the damage.
Ngahina Kindergarten head teacher Corinne Pinguet said, "They used the contents of our paper recycling bin and the kids playdough to start a fire that was still smoldering when we arrived in the morning.
"It's concerning because the fire was on the veranda right next to the building which is wooden.
"We cleaned up all the damage on Thursday but still have some panels to repaint and the mural needs work."
Not wanting to think the worst of the situation Corinne thinks it could have been people taking shelter on a night that caused flooding in parts of Kapiti.
"There are people who don't have good shelter even in Kapiti.
"That could be a reason, but there was also evidence of alcohol."
The kindergarten is part of He Whanau Manaaki o Tararua Free Kindergarten Association Incorporated, a not for profit organisation which operates 85 kindergartens around the lower North Island.
Fortunately for the kindergarten Whanau Manaaki paid for the building repairs which were done straight away to keep the children settled.
"It's very disappointing to have the children's resources burned and damaged," Corinne said.
"Replacing that will come from our budget.
"We're just gutted because we had a big fundraiser planned for the weekend which we had to cancel."
Despite the quick clean up by the staff, it is not only the physical damage that has affected the kindergarten whose role has about 50 families on it.
"The children were intrigued to see the police here, they were a bit baffled about what had happened."
The kindergarten's name points towards this with manaaki meaning to support and take care of.
"We tried to make it business as normal for the children.
"This is their safe place."