Taupo's mayor has lashed out at the "mindless thugs" who damaged the town's giant bike sculpture just days out from the district being showcased as part of the international Ironman series.
Mayor David Trewavas said the damage was not just an act of vandalism, but a "crime against the community".
"It is unbelievable that someone would do this, particularly on the eve of our district being showcased on the world stage with international media coverage of Ironman New Zealand's flagship event."
The three-metre high bike, designed and built by Waitahanui artist Marcel Zwezerijnen, was built to showcase the district as a cycling destination - but has now been damaged beyond repair. District manager of parks and open spaces, John Ridd, said it appeared someone had used a vehicle to try and pull the bike off its concrete mount on Thursday night.
The bike's two wheels were buckled and the bike was removed yesterday morning.
Police are investigating and district authorities have encouraged anyone that saw or heard anything to report it.
The sculpture was installed on the corner State Highway 1 and Poihipi Rd in September 2012.
Taupo District Council contributed $3500 towards the $55,000 cost, with the rest being fundraised within the community.
- Waikato Times