Police have arrested a 46-year-old woman after headstones were damaged at an urupā in Raupunga.

A police spokesperson said they were not looking for anyone else in relation to the incident in northern Hawke's Bay, near Wairoa.

They appreciated the support of the Raupunga community in coming forward with information, the spokesperson said.

"Police acknowledges the distress caused to whānau and community members by the damage."


Kaye Wesley, whose father and siblings were amongst her relatives buried there, was on her way to a funeral when she was confronted by the site of toppled headstones on Saturday.

"We're shattered," she said yesterday. There's years and years of family buried in that cemetery and it's like we have to bury them all over again."

"It is tapu what has happened and it has upset a lot of people and broken our spirits. We shouldn't have to go there and find this. It's wrong."

Sixteen graves were in pieces and most of the others, worth thousands of dollars, had been damaged.

The damage was believed to have been done sometime between 6pm on Friday and 10.30am on Saturday.

A Givealittle page set up yesterday to help restore the site has raised nearly $3000.

To donate, visit the Givealittle page for the Waihape whānau urupā