A hand-crafted baby polar bear lantern
found its way to the Orewa Police station.
The item was taken from the China on Ice display at the Auckland Domain.
It was left outside the station about 1am with an anonymous note saying the person had taken it and was now returning it.
Police said they were unsure where his journey took him.
They are liaising with the Asia New Zealand Foundation to have the bear reunited with his mother. The display also featured a mother polar bear and six penguins.
The Asia New Zealand Foundation said it was delighted the lantern had "been found unharmed".
Foundation director of culture Jennifer King thanked the media for their assistance in helping the lantern be returned so quickly, and the police for taking care of the lantern.
"We'd also like to thank the person who returned it. No hard feelings - it's lovely to have the lantern back. It's travelled a long way and we're pleased to see it hasn't been damaged."