After more than a year, a Levin woman's garden sculpture has been returned, thanks to a newspaper article and the sharp memory of a policewoman.

A string of garden ornament robberies early last year saw Shirley Gilzean's sculpture stolen from the driveway of her Levin home.

She was devastated as it was her first and only attempt at stone carving.

Mrs Gilzean said the thief most likely came halfway up her driveway to the koru-shaped sculpture, which sat on a piece of wood out of sight from the road.


At the time her story was printed in the newspaper, she offered a no questions asked reward for the koru's safe return.

After 13 months Mrs Gilzean had lost all hope of seeing the sculpture until Police Constable Liz Woodley recognised it.

She said while executing a search warrant in relation to burglaries at Speldhurst Country Estate, she noted there were a lot of garden sculptures, and it rang a bell for her.

Afterward she looked up 'stolen sculpture' on Google and a story popped up about Mrs Gilzean's stolen koru shaped stone.

After receiving more information and being granted a second search warrant, Ms Woodley had her eyes peeled for the koru.

"We went back to the property and it was the same one ... It's really nice to be able to return the sculpture as it was something [Mrs Gilzean] had made herself," she said.

"Even though there are burglaries that have occurred months ago, we do keep a register so when we do search warrants in relation to any burglary we always keep an eye out for previous items that have been stolen."

Ms Woodley said the thief was held in custody and would appear in court this week facing three counts of burglary, one being the koru.

Mrs Gilzean said she was chuffed to have the ornament returned to its spot under her totara tree.

"Usually police turn up to your house to give you bad news, but this was good news.

"Let's give credit, where credit is due," she said.