Ngaruawahia Anzac Day commemorations will remain at their usual spot despite the cenotaph falling victim to thieves and vandals.
A 2-metre long slab of stone was damaged, two bronze wreaths were stolen and a plaque ripped off.
Waikato District Council community connections manager Megan May said it was disappointing the vandalism occurred to such an important community memorial, especially right before Anzac Day.
Given the amount of damage the cenotaph would not be fixed in time for Anzac Day.
"Stonemasons have said it's highly likely the damage was caused by vandals as routine maintenance occurs to keep the memorial in good condition. Two bronze wreaths have also been stolen.
"Repairing the cenotaph will take some time as finding replacement stone which matches the colour of the existing memorial could be difficult."
The site would today be tidied and the plaque temporarily reinstated in time for tomorrow morning's service.
"Thanks to the community for letting us know about this vandalism so quickly. Council staff have worked really hard to try and get this repaired in time for tomorrow's service but the work needed to fully repair the cenotaph is both extensive and expensive.
"Those that go to pay their respects tomorrow shouldn't notice much difference and we will work to have the cenotaph fully repaired as quickly as possible."
The destruction comes just days after numerous white crosses were destroyed near Countdown in Huntly.
A witness saw a car, with about four or five occupants, arrive at the scene about 11pm on Saturday and the damaged crosses found a short time later.
Ngaruawahia RSA president Chris Jew said the vandalism was disappointing.
"Along with this damage to the cenotaph, several repairs have also had to be made to the white crosses on Great South Rd in recent weeks. Both the cenotaph and the white crosses are memorials for our people who have both fought and died for New Zealand.
"Respect should be paid to these memorials and to have them damaged at any time during the year is such a shame, but right before Anzac Day, a day where the country remembers its fallen, is especially disheartening."
Jew called for anyone who had information about the damage to let the council or RSA know.