A haven of support for the Maori community of Pukekohe has been forced to close after it was broken into and pipes and taps stolen, causing thousands of dollars of water damage.
Nga Hau E Wha Marae O Pukekohe on Beattys Rd has been closed until further notice after pipes and taps were stolen from the men's and women's bathrooms, leaving water flowing until marae members discovered it the next morning.
Marae secretary Raemon Matene said she and other members came across the flooded bathrooms yesterday morning, following a hui on Tuesday night.
"The waterways were still running and it was flooding when we came in.
A lot of the local schools had been getting in touch with offers of support and assistance as well as many members of the community, which was reassuring, she said.
Nga Hau e Wha Marae was used by numerous community organisations and cultural groups and was a haven of support for the Maori community of Pukekohe, she said.
The marae was used by hundreds of people weekly which made the news such a tough pill to swallow.
"Our marae is busy all the time. That's why this is such a blow, it's very much a community and it has been since it was established.
"It is quite shocking, it has been quite emotional informing the community. Hurting the marae is hurting the community," Matene said.
Although they were yet to get in a plumber to assess the damage, she estimated it would cost thousands to replace the pipes and taps, pay for labour and repair the water damage.
"It will cost thousands and we just have been meeting to do refurbishments."
Counties Manukau Police Detective Senior Sergeant Karen Bright said the matter had been reported to police on Thursday morning and they were investigating.
"In the meantime we'd like to hear from anyone who has information that could help our investigation. Please contact Senior Sergeant Karen Bright at Pukekohe Police on (09) 237 1700."
The marae's post of the damage following the break-in has already been viewed 42,000 times and has been shared more than 1000 times.
"Last night somebody decided to take all the taps out of the toilets. Not only did they do that they took all of the pipes.
"Water is everywhere and it's flooded, I'm just disgusted in people these days this marae has housed so many people and people want to come and do that," a marae member can be heard saying.