Graham Dixon's gravestone is simple and plain. It has his name, date of birth and date of death, and the slogan "Gone hunting and fishing".
Until recently, Mr Dixon's grave at Aramoho Cemetery also contained a single ornament - a brass stag about 30cm high. But some time in the past few weeks the stag has gone missing.
Mr Dixon's widow Heather said placing a brass stag on her husband's grave was the idea of his best friend, after Mr Dixon died in 2011.
"Graham was a really keen hunter and fisherman, he loved it," Mrs Dixon said.
His friend organised the statue to be placed to one side of the grave for Mr Dixon's headstone unveiling in June this year.
"Some friends came down from Leigh and when they went to visit Graham's grave they saw the stag had gone," she said, struggling to hold back tears.
She said it was "not the sort of thing you'd expect to happen at a cemetery. This place is tapu, people should leave it alone."
She said the statue had been very firmly set in place - it had been bolted from underneath and glued. The holes where the statue once stood are still clearly visible.
"Someone must have worked really hard to remove it."
Mrs Dixon said she believed the statue had been stolen for scrap metal purposes but she had some small hope it might be sitting on someone's mantelpiece.
She asks anyone who has it to hand it in to Whanganui police. The stag is clearly identifiable - it has Mr Dixon's name, date of birth and date of death engraved on the bottom.