If you were a tagger who would you rather face?
The police or angry New Brighton residents? That's the message from police, who say the tagging of the war memorial on the foreshore was a "despicable" act.
"It is in their [taggers] interests that they front up to the police before other factions of the community locate them," Sergeant Andrew Judson said on Friday.
"It's despicable targeting a memorial of such significance as that," he said.
National vice-president of the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association, BJ Clark, said he was very upset for the New Brighton people.
"To desecrate a memorial for people who have gone overseas, many of whom lost their lives and those who returned had their lives turned upside down from the stress from war to stoop to this level is just terrible," he said.
"There is so much good in the community and when you have faceless, gutless idiots like that, it is so disappointing I am really struggling to understand what they get out of it."
He said he felt for the families of those who were on the cenotaph.
"They must be wondering 'why did my grandfather go away and fight when this happens'?"
The tagging of the cenotaph comes only weeks after locals from New Brighton's Mural Madness reported seeing a change in attitude from local taggers, who were being Hunt on for graffiti culprits mentored by street artists.
Taggers, known to the community, had been approaching street artists who were working on murals, asking if they could help them.
Working alongside the artists they were learning the difference between art and tagging.
Murals that had been completed prior to the projects, such as the fence outside New Brighton Community Kindergarten, had been left alone by taggers.
But the same respect does not seem to be extended to war memorials.
Sergeant Andrew Judson said police will be going through their graffiti database to see if they could match the tags but he urged the community to come forward if they recognised the tag. Contact New Brighton Police on 373 9159.