The teacher who had her bike and belongings stolen from a campground in Waitangi partway through a cycle trip around New Zealand was bought to tears after offers of help have flooded in.
The plight of Dunedin woman Jan Burch featured in yesterday's Northern Advocate and since then the Advocate has been inundated with offers of help which it has passed on to Burch.
They include offers of bikes to use from all over New Zealand, offers of places to stay and even a free trip on a Northland tourist attraction.
When Burch learnt of the offers, she was a little lost for words.
"My goodness, I'm just like 'oh'. It's bought tears to my eyes."
"It's really heartwarming. It's so easy to have one bad thing and let it colour our world, but really the person who took the bike is in the minority."
Burch really wanted to say thank you to all those who had made offers.
"We've just been totally overwhelmed that so many people care enough to make all these offers."
Burch had spent four months cycling solo 5500km across the United States without a hitch.
While in the US she met Rick Burdyshaw, from Ohio, and persuaded him to cycle the length of New Zealand with her.
Burdyshaw said they appreciated everyone's offers and said it really showed that people cared a lot.
"It really makes the good outweigh the bad and it is nice to have all the offers for accommodation, bicycles, tours."
The pair arrived in Auckland on November 1 and cycled up the west coast to Hokianga before following the Twin Coast Cycle Trail to the Bay of Islands.
They camped at Waitangi Holiday Park, but when Burdyshaw got up at 5.30am on Tuesday he discovered both bikes were missing.
Shortly after he saw someone cycling towards him, on his bike. He chased after him but he got away.
A few minutes later he asked a group of young men if they had seen his bike. They hadn't, but returned shortly after with his bicycle, saying they had found it dumped in bushes.
The theft of Burch's bike left her with just one set of clothes; her clothing, food, and cooking gear were in the bike's panniers.
She said the bike was worth little - but could cost up to $4000 to replace the bike, racks and panniers.
Burch had no ill feelings towards Northland, and said since the theft "everyone's just been so helpful".
Despite the appeal for her bike, as of yesterday afternoon Burch had not had it returned.
She said she would look at taking up one of the offers of a bike to use so the pair could continue their tour around New Zealand.
The stolen bike is a blue Kona Sutra touring bike. Its frame is covered in star stickers. It has two large orange pannier bags with safety triangles on the back and a black pannier bag on the front.
• If you know where the bike is, phone the police or email firstname.lastname@example.org