A Hawke's Bay tree that had most of its bark stripped off and the words "Satan Loves You" carved into it will have to be cut down because of the damage.
A Napier City Council spokesperson said the oak tree in Taradale Park is too badly damaged to be saved.
"It will be replaced at some stage.
"Council would appreciate it if members of the community could keep an eye out for this kind of behaviour."
A witness, who did not want to be named, said the tree had been damaged by a group of youths.
He said the incident occurred last week, the same day a new shade sail was put up, saying it was ironic that the park's old shade was damaged at the same time.