Christchurch residents may be short a few presents in their stockings this year after a Christmas grinch stole a NZ Post van packed with parcels.

The theft took place last Thursday at 9.15am in the small McLellan Place cul-de-sac in the suburb of Ilam, with the van being recovered later the same day.

A NZ Post spokeswoman said the Government-owned service was pleased to have "recovered the majority" of stolen parcels.

But the spokeswoman failed to confirm how many parcels were still missing and how many customers were affected.


Police confirmed the van had been reported as stolen but said they had not laid any charges and would not be investigating further without more information coming to light.

Kapiti Coast resident Deborah Hambly was one of those who lost a parcel on the stolen van.

She runs a small online business, Buzzbee Boutique, selling beekeeping equipment around New Zealand, while also perusing online websites for bargains to buy and sell, with her friends nicknaming her "Trade Me queen".

But recently one of her Christchurch customers contacted her to say a pair of second-hand running shoes she had sent them had not shown up because it had been on the stolen van.

Luckily, the buyer had paid for tracking services and this led NZ Post to send them an email, saying the pair of shoes had been on the stolen van.

"I thought, 'This is unusual'," Hambly said.

It's also a pain because Hambly now has to chase up the details of her package and is expecting to wait weeks to get compensation money back from NZ Post, which she will then have to refund her customer.

The NZ Post spokeswoman said compensation would be "considered on a case-by-case basis in accordance with our terms of service".


Hambly said she regularly has trouble with NZ Post losing parcels, especially because when she posts lower-value items, customers often choose not to pay for tracking services.

She estimated she probably loses about 10 out of the around 300 parcels she sends each year, including a recent parcel containing beekeeping equipment she sent to the Auckland Beekeepers Club.

She said she was now "nervous" each time she used NZ Post's services.

"I'm a working mum and my business is selling small homemade beekeeping products across New Zealand and you rely on the post because you don't have a shop front," she said.