A devastating attack on headstones at the Raetihi Cemetery has left the council trying to piece the broken pieces together until family members come forward to cover the thousands of dollars in repairs.

Ruapehu District Council says it does not have the money to repair the seven headstones vandalised at Raetihi Cemetery earlier this month.

Some of the headstones were badly damaged and the cost of repairing them was about $1850 each.

RDC team leader of community property Rebecca van Orden said it was disappointing that someone would do such a mindless act.


"Unfortunately council does not have the resources to pay to have the broken headstones fixed although we will be paying to have two headstones that were knocked over but not broken to be re-erected."

The headstones were owned by the families and it was their responsibility to fix them, she said. The council was now trying to locate the families.

In the meantime the council would try to put the headstones on top of the graves as best it could, she said.

"We will research our records and try to ascertain who their descendants are and whether they can be contacted, however with the graves dating back as far as 1918 this might be quite difficult."

Ruapehu mayor Don Cameron said the vandalism was upsetting and among a spate of attacks to property in the Raetihi community.

"We have had a bit of a rash of some anti-social behaviour," he said.

Cameron said it was not just the cemetery that had been destroyed, but an elderly woman had recently returned from hospital to find her house had been burgled.

Police are investigating. Ohakune Police sergeant Mike Craig said the damage was "pretty bad" and appeared to be random idiotic acts.

"It's not like they have even targeted a particular family. It's all very random it just seems to be idiotic.

"There is no indication they (the incidents) are even related."

He urged anyone with information about the vandalism that occurred around October 5 to contact Ohakune Police.

The names on the graves damaged by the vandalism are Hester Murson, Colleen Dunlop, Patrick Thomas Keary, Te Ata Marama Tepeke, Harry Drake, Robert Pearson and Ean Howard Irwin.