Rotokawa Kohanga Reo staff have been left with a bitter taste in their mouth after thieves stole one of its sheds.
The shed, which was stolen over the weekend, was being used to store items from the kohanga's old storage shed, which is being renovated and turned into a whare wananga.
Kohanga chairman Regan King said it was disappointing and he believed it was a pre-meditated heist.
"They'd have needed the tools to take it apart, then a flatbed trailer or truck to take it away, so they would have come prepared.
"It must have been done overnight because I assume they've unscrewed the shed and carried it away - it was quite big, if they'd have done it during the day they'd have been quite visible carrying the shed."
King said the shed was bought using some of the $12,000 raised last year for the special project.
"The bigger picture in regards to the project that we're trying to do at kohanga is turn our old storage shed into a little whare wananga and we've been fundraising for a long time as a kohanga.
"We've gone out there and found sponsorship, people have stepped up and sponsored different items and different tasks in regards to renovating the shed."
He said the theft raised concerns about safety - another shed was tampered with when the shed was stolen.
"The fact is that this is a place for our babies, it needs to be a safe environment and to think that someone has come in there with intention to burgle is worrying," King said.
"Kohanga is not a well-resourced or funded organisation, we run on the smell of an oily rag, hence why we sponsorship and do fundraisers to make every little thing possible."
King said the kohanga was now in a compromised position and was apprehensive about buying another shed.
"We're reluctant to go out and purchase another shed, because the same thing could happen again.
"We're just in the process of recalibrating what we can do with the stuff that was in the shed, whether we have space to store it or whether we ask whanau to store it."
Police confirmed the theft had been reported and they are investigating it.
Rotorua police area prevention manager Brendan Keenan said he wasn't aware of any trends in Rotorua where people were stealing garden sheds.
"We're having a lot of commercial burglaries and stuff at the moment but not exactly garden sheds."