When Awanui man Ken Ferguson told the story of the Greek master mariner's card he found in a bottle on Ninety Mile Beach last week he was hoping to hear from someone who spoke Greek, so he could talk to the man who tossed the bottle into the sea.
What he got was a flood of text messages and emails from all over the world, as far afield as the UK.
Closer to home, the vice-president of the Greek Community in Auckland offered his services, and a hall in Auckland should he wish to deliver a presentation.
Ferguson has since made contact with the man who left the message in a bottle and tossed it into the sea somewhere between China and Australia.
He contacted Captain John Karavolos, now retired and living on a Greek island, by email, in English, but he's delegated the job of researching the whole story to a small group of Awanui School children.
They already had a photo of Captain Karavolos' ship pinned to the wall last week, and were pondering the problem of getting the card out of the bottle without breaking it.
Captain Karavolos told Ferguson he had written the details of exactly where and when he had jettisoned the bottle on the back of the card, but the ink had faded badly, and Ken had not been able to read it through the green glass.
The children might have better luck, but even if it's still illegible they now have dozens of texts and emails to reply to, which seem likely to produce all sorts of information.
Karavolos had told Ferguson that he had thrown numerous bottles into the sea over the years, and he couldn't be sure when or when he launched this one, but he suspected it was about a year ago en route from China to Newcastle, in Australia.
Meanwhile, Ferguson said the children would be starting their project from Square 1. The second thing they would have to do, after extracting the card from the bottle, would be to locate Ninety Mile Beach's Little Bluff, where he found the bottle.
The story has also gone global on social media, after the Northern Advocate put it on its website and Facebook page.
As of yesterday the story had been reached more than 253,000 people through the Advocate's Facebook page.