Just a few weeks after the unveiling of the restored Te Arawa Memorial, a bronze tekoteko guardian has been sent away to be repaired after a car crashed into it.

Rotorua Lakes Council suspects a car crashed into the statue on Tuesday night, disappointing arts and culture manager Stewart Brown.

"Years of work has gone into restoring this important Rotorua memorial ... but thankfully the damage was minimal.

"Tyre marks show it was a vehicle that hit one of the bronze tekoteko guardians surrounding the memorial, pushing it out of the ground."

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Casters have successfully replicated the eight wooden tekoteko and four
Casters have successfully replicated the eight wooden tekoteko and four "wheku form" pou that originally surrounded and supported the memorial. Photo / Supplied

The tekoteko has been removed and is being repaired at the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute.

Brown said he didn't know how long it would take or cost.

Casters from the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute had successfully replicated the eight wooden tekoteko and four "wheku form" pou that originally surrounded and supported the memorial in February this year.

The memorial commemorates Te Arawa men who fought and died in World War I and was unveiled at a dawn ceremony on February 28, 92 years to the day since it was originally unveiled by the then Duke of York during a royal visit in 1927.

It was a two-year project involving replicating pieces that were almost lost.

Eugene Kara, head of the bronze foundry at NZMACI/Te Puea, recently completed the tekoteko and pou surrounding the newly restored and rededicated Te Arawa Soldiers Memorial. Photo / Stephen Parker
Eugene Kara, head of the bronze foundry at NZMACI/Te Puea, recently completed the tekoteko and pou surrounding the newly restored and rededicated Te Arawa Soldiers Memorial. Photo / Stephen Parker

3D scans and wax moulds were made of the carvings before the bronze was cast to ensure the replication was accurate and to prevent further damage.

In 2016, the Rotorua District WW100 Commemorations Committee announced the memorial would be restored as part of the district's World War I commemorations as it had deteriorated and had been vandalised.