The vandalism of a sculpture in Whangārei Town Basin's art park has angered many people walking the popular Hatea River Loop.

Whangārei District Council Parks and Recreation staff discovered the toppled carved Takaka marble column called Aurere, and associated damage, when they arrived for work yesterday morning.

The column, which sat on the rock seawall looking toward Parihaka, was possibly broken off its basalt plinth after dark on Sunday.

Walkers passing the scene yesterday were vocal in their outrage about the ''mindless'' vandalism, one worker said.

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A thick steel bar joining the two pieces and holding the taller section in place was bent over at a right angle. While still attached to the bar, the column had shattered at the base and there were large chips broken off where the tip had hit the ground.

Whangārei District Council was reviewing its CCTV footage and intended taking the matter to the police, spokeswoman Sue Hodge said.

People are angry about the mindless vandalism to a marble sculpture in Whangārei's riverside sculpture park. Photo / Michael Cunningham
People are angry about the mindless vandalism to a marble sculpture in Whangārei's riverside sculpture park. Photo / Michael Cunningham

At this stage it is not known if the sculpture by Anna Korver can be re-installed. Hodge said the piece would need to retain its aesthetics and might need an engineering assessment to determine possible solutions.

''Council staff are really annoyed at this type of senseless vandalism,'' she said. ''Like any district, we do have vandalism but it is not considered a big problem.''

Possibly because of the busy nature of the Hatea Loop, there was a low level of vandalism in the area. The sculpture park and rest of the loop walk is also under security camera scrutiny.

Korver's elegant, simple, soaring work was made during the biennial Whangārei Sculpture Symposium, in February 2012. It was selected from more than 25 sculptures created at the symposium and bought for $5000 for public display.

The plaque beside it describes Aurere as the journey of the waka, also reflecting the balance and protection found between the people, land and birds.