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Council parks and recreation group manager Robert West was unsure when the sculpture had been damaged.
It was not the first time the piece had been damaged, but police had not been notified and there were no CCTV cameras in the area, he said.
Titled 38 Boat, the work was created by Ruth Myers on commission from the council in 1996.
• Dunedin police (03)471-4800, Crimestoppers 0800-555-111.