Auckland's heritage cemeteries need to be protected, says a woman whose ancestors' graves were vandalised in an anti-semitic attack last week.
Rosemay Keay is a descendant of the Keesing family, which settled in New Zealand in the 1840s.
About four graves belonging to her family were damaged last week during an attack on the Jewish quarter at the Symonds St Cemetery.
Vandals spray-painted large swastikas and expletive-ridden messages on the grave stones.
Police have arrested two men in relation to the incident.
"The things I want to say about these people are unprintable. The things I want to do would get me in trouble," Keay said.
"These graves should be preserved, not only for our family, but for everyone in that cemetery. Those people worked hard for this city."
Keay said the Keesings were a founding family in Auckland, setting up many of the first buildings, stores and factories.
They also owned land on Auckland's waterfront, stretching from Freemans Bay to Point Stanley, and set up many of the first enterprises there.
When Keay shared the story with relatives on Facebook, they were very upset.
"They were really disgusted. What has happened has really upset the family," she said.
Keay said in the past vandals had chipped away at the names on the graves, and because they are sandstone they crumble away easily.
"Sandstone has to be treated in a specific way - painstakingly done by experts," said Keay.
"With spray-paint, you won't get the marks off - that's what's so hard."
She said she would like to go to court and face the alleged vandals.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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