An overseas adventure is a rite of passage for many young people.

School is out and it's time to find your way in the world. What could be more liberating than kissing the parents goodbye and flying to the other side of the world.

There are new people to meet and places to see. Parents will always worry - it's their job to - but no one expects the worst.

Julius Wagner never foresaw his misfortune when he arrived in the country three weeks ago.


The 18-year-old German thought he'd hitchhike to Taupo to check out another part of the country ahead of the apple picking season.

A driver offered to take him some of the way to Taupo, he threw his bags in the boot and off he went.

He was thanking the driver at Te Pohue when he sped off with Mr Wagner's bags including his passport, laptop, bank cards and clothes.

It was not a good start to his trip.

Although, out this horrible incident came an act of kindness as people rushed to his aid.

The Te Pohue pub owners took him in for the night, fed him, and drove him back to Napier.

So, in the space of 24 hours, Mr Wagner experienced the best and worst that our country has to offer.

Every so often we hear of misadventures such as this but it is a shame it happened in our region.


Tourists and their spending in Hawke's Bay are an important part of our economy.

We don't need incidents like this to put them off returning.

I hope Mr Wagner's luck changes and he takes home more fond memories from Hawke's Bay.