Racist and anti-religious graffiti on Catholic church in Gisborne

St Mary’s Star of the Sea Church in Gisborne was spray-painted with racist obscenities and anti-religious insults last week.

Abusive messages against the Christian religion and Pakeha were spray-painted in green on the state highway side of the church, next to Campion College, on Wednesday night.

Parish priest Monsignor Frank Eggleton said bad timing made the graffiti worse.

“It was a big shock for me, but also all the children coming to school had to walk past it and it was very upsetting to us to see them even looking at it.”

Insults targeting faith were especially horrifying at a time when New Zealand was grieving a tragedy triggered by anti-religious bigotry, he said.

On Thursday, Gisborne police said they are following lines of inquiry in relation to the vandalism.

In Thursday’s Gisborne Herald, Campion College principal Paul McGuinness and Gisborne’s Mayor Meng Foon expressed their disgust and alarm about the graffiti.

Mr McGuinness said it was very sad to see especially in light of the tragedy in Christchurch.

“At a time when New Zealanders are being asked to come together in solidarity and embrace our diversity as a country, the graffiti is a reminder that this may be a long path to travel for some in our community,” he said.

“It is also very sad a church is the target for this vandalism when many of the church communities throughout New Zealand are active in trying to heal the harm caused by last week’s tragedy.”


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