The Mayor of Greymouth says the removal of four war memorial pillars has taught the district council a valuable lesson.
The pillars bear the names of West Coast people who died in World Wars I and II.
Many of those listed still have descendants in the district.
The incident was seen as a desecration of New Zealand war history.
The pillars were removed from a private site in January to make way for development and were dumped on a farm near Hokitika.
The council is now restoring them, with Mayor Tony Kokshoorn saying the experience has reinforced the need for local history to be protected.
The four pillars now form the entrance to Dixon Park Reserve in Greymouth.