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Mum finds young son's headstone robbed of pounamu, pleads for its return

A Hastings mother is pleading for the return of a greenstone pounamu, which was stolen from the headstone of her son's grave just before Christmas.

Speaking to the New Zealand Herald, Teresa Smith-Craig said a friend had found the greenstone in a Canterbury river - a memorial for her seven-year-old son Isachaar, who died in April 2007 after a chest infection.

She had originally had the tōanga below her son's photo in her home and had put off bolting the giant greenstone to Isachaar's headstone because she feared it would be stolen.

Sadly, her fear proved true after only about a week of it being bolted to the gravesite at Hasting's Mangaroa Cemetery.

Isachaar was the youngest of six children and had survived a near-drowning when he was 11 months old. However the incident had left him in a wheelchair and severely brain damaged.

Ms Smith-Craig, who says she gives all of her children a greenstone when they turn 18, told the newspaper she is devastated over the loss of the memorial and is asking whoever took it to bring it back. She says she has only just received the bill for the installation.

"I haven't even paid for it yet, so that made me cry and another new year made me cry because it's his birthday at the end of the month," she said. "It's really upset all his family, too."