Artworks have a habit of going missing from public places. In 2007, a large sculpture of a weta was taken from its pillar outside the Epsom Community Library but the time and date of the theft were unknown.

The "much-loved" bronze sculpture measured 1.5m from head to foot.

The theft took place following a number of raids on the University of Auckland's library in the same year.

Thieves stole a $100,000 Charles Goldie painting, seven Colin McCahon poems worth $7000 and an unbound copy of the Oxford Lectern Bible valued at $100,000 from the university library's special collections room in 2007.

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Napier's iconic Pania of the Reef statue is being decorated by two little girls. Photo / File
Napier's iconic Pania of the Reef statue is being decorated by two little girls. Photo / File

In October 2005, Napier's iconic Pania of the Reef statue was stolen from Marine Parade. Charles Nukunuku was jailed for a year for stealing the 70kg statue.

The same month a $25,000 Paul Dibble sculpture was stolen from outside a Waikanae restaurant, and later returned after a $10,000 ransom was paid - something which angered police.