Four grateful Japanese visitors were overwhelmed by big ticket items offered by Northland businesses - but it was a small, heartfelt gesture that brought tears to their eyes.
Four of five girls who had their car broken into on Monday have returned to Northland after locals called them back with offers of hospitality and tourism gifts.
The girls had left Whangarei suddenly, their car damaged after it was broken into, their clothing and treasured items stolen.
Yesterday, in Whangarei, they chorused their gratitude at the offers, and tears welled when it was explained that a local pensioner, after reading of their plight in the Northern Advocate, had given them $10. There were other offers of cash from generous Advocate readers after the paper organised an appeal assisted by tourism business owner and district councillor Jeroen Jongejans.
Ai Takada presented Northern Advocate editor Craig Cooper with a "thank you" card that concluded with "I love NZ, thank you very much!"
The girls, English language students based in Auckland, head home on Sunday.
"God help anyone who breaks into their car before they leave," Mr Cooper said.