A Northland sculpture artist is pleading for the return of her beloved bronze Buddha girl statue — no questions asked — that was stolen.
Dell Pryor runs the Quarry Arts Centre Cafe on Selwyn Ave in Whangārei where the statue had been sitting and meditating for seven years until it was stolen about two weeks ago.
"I made it on Waiheke Island where I lived about 10 years ago. I wanted to do a very happy, chubby, little Buddha-type figure who's meditating. Most of my female figures have been idolised because people love looking at them," she said.
Pryor discovered the statue was missing when she returned to work on July 1. It is 30cm high, about 25cm wide, and weighs 6kg to 7kg.
"None of the food or electronics had been taken. If those responsible for the burglary try to sell the statue, I don't know how they'd do it. It's personally valuable to me.
"I'd love to have her back — no questions asked. I feel like they saw it and took it because she was quite different, quite unique in my own belief. I am not a Buddhist though."
Also broken into was the Quarry Co-Op Shop next door and distinctive jewellery with floral backs, friendship jewellery, and greenstone works were stolen.
Thieves initially tried to cut through a wall from the cafe before entering the shop from the front door.
Kaari Schlebach, co-director of Jam Tse Dhargyey Ling Tibetan Buddhist Centre of Study and Meditation in Kamo, said it seemed out of the ordinary for someone to steal a statue of Buddha.
"It's contrary to compassion and love espoused by Buddha, unless someone steals it for destruction purposes. If they are fundamentalists, they'd have thrown it in the ocean.
"The statues don't have a higher money value in the open market. They might fetch $50 or $100 but that depends on the quality. Who knows what the motive of people who steal them are."
Schlebach said a person once came to the Jam Tse Dhargyey Ling and destroyed statues of Buddha.
Whangārei police are investigating the break-ins at the Quarry Arts Centre.
The missing Buddha can be dropped off at the Quarry Arts Centre, in Selwyn Ave, Whangārei or at the Northern Advocate office at 88 Robert St, Whangārei.