When a custom-made pounamu was stolen from a Rotorua gravesite, a piece of loved one's heart was taken - and it still hasn't been returned.
Last week, the treasured pounamu was found missing from Kurtis Jones' gravesite at Kauae cemetery, Rotorua. It has been created as a token of love by Jones' partner Melissa Ewins when he died.
Jones was a talented Rotorua rugby player who died in April 2015 after losing a battle with testicular cancer.
Ewins put her heart and soul into the tribute - from the circular design (to represent an infinity bond) to carving the stand, anchoring it, beading it in, and designing the plaque herself.
"Because of the meaning and the purpose of what that taonga meant to myself and the whānau actually is a lot bigger than any other thing ... It's devastating," she said.
The Rotorua Daily Post published Ewins' story this week. The support and kindness shown to the Ewins and the Jones' family since had left them in awe.
"I was talking to Turene last night, Kurtis' sister, and she said she's had hundreds of people messaging," Ewins said.
Still, the precious pounamu remains missing.
Ewins said it was a situation no one wanted to be in, losing something so cherished. She said she could feel that love in people approaching her.
But something that has been difficult to deal with was the anger others felt and the conflict she felt for not being angry.
"I just hope that person [who took the pounamu] can get whatever help they need because they surely must not be of sound mind," she said.
Much of the community response to Ewins' story has been fueled by outrage and people wishing karma would get whoever took the pounamu. This was not how Ewins was seeing it.
"If I thought about Kurtis and what he would want, that wouldn't be the case," she said.
"He was about oranga, he was about wellness and health... and not just physical wellness but being well in yourself. Mentally, emotionally and spiritually."