The Christmas tree in Havelock North's CBD was 4 metres tall until the weekend.
It now stands a metre shorter after a would-be star-grabbing vandal tried to scale it, and in doing so left substantial damage.
A Hastings District Council spokeswoman said the tree was new and so were the decorations that adorned it.
Council was alerted to it by a member of the public at about 2pm on Saturday, but the exact details of when the vandalism occurred is unknown.
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"Our maintenance contractors found that someone had tried to climb the tree, we think to steal the star, and in the process bent the top of the tree downward on a 90 degree angle, leaving the tree one metre shorter," the spokeswoman said.
"The star decorations also broke, baubles were smashed and the rope lighting was pulled down."
She said it was not certain how it would be repaired, but the top had been removed in the meantime.
"It was very disappointing to have this reported to us by a member of the public.
"The contractor has been able to replace the star on the top of the shorter tree until the tree can be repaired."
Police were not involved.