Te Teko Kohanga Reo kaiako Lorraine “Lolo” Hale has called out the low-lives who stole from the kohanga during the first week of the nation’s Covid 19 lockdown.

Hale expressed her anger and disappointment in a Facebook post, describing the theft as a violation of “our babies papatakaro (play space).”

“Over the past three months whanau have invested time and worked really hard to upgrade and beautify the area,” Hale said.

“To make it a safe, happy and bright environment for the tamariki to play and learn in.”

She said the thief or thieves had broken into the kohanga’s implement shed and taken
over $700 worth of recently-purchased paint and accessories that were to be used to complete fence and shed murals.

The murals were to be part of the kohanga’s 37 years of operation.
“The disgusting part about this is the theft occurred in the first week of lockdown when we were all supposed to be staying at home and keeping our whanau safe,” Hale said.

“Despite our kaimahi [staff] rostering themselves to monitor our kohanga for vandalism
and break-ins, this happened.”
She said the offender re-attached the lock they had broken to the door to make it appear the door hadn’t been tampered with.

“The stolen paints are all exterior paints and are very bold colours so most people would know whether they are supposed to be in a house or not. We had yellow, black, white and pink in four litre tins and teal blue, green and blue in two litre tins. There was also sets of paint brushes, painter’s masking tapes and set of rollers in different sizes.”

Because of the theft the kohanga would not be able to complete the murals.

Hale said if the offender had any morals they would return the property.

“I will give the person or people one opportunity to go and put our paints back on our verandah so we can continue to beautify our walls and fences with our murals ,” Hale said.

“However, if we find out through the grape vine who it is, I will press charges.

Hale said she was over people ripping off kohangas and schools and urged whanau to contact her if they heard of or knew anything about the burglary.