German tourists Nico Lustig and Janina Hinnear saw the bad side of New Zealand when they lost their possessions to a thief at Ahipara. Within 48 hours they were seeing the good side.
News that the stolen property included the ring with which Nico had planned to propose to Janina struck a particular chord, prompting a very generous response from Taupō woman Carrie Johnston.
She contacted the Northland Age to offer Nico an engagement ring and matching wedding band ("assuming she says yes, of course") that she had had sitting in a drawer for 18 years.
"I'm sure none of my boys would mind if I gifted the rings to Nico, if he'd like them," she said.
"I live in Taupō, so if they plan to travel south they could collect them on the way through, and maybe even check out our wonderful town and all it has to offer at the same time. I only have a small apartment (three teenage boys take up a lot of room), but they would be welcome to stay for a couple of days as long as they don't mind the couch in the living room," she added.
DM Jewellery, based near Waitomo, saw the story and offered the couple an engagement ring, while Ōamaru woman Barbara Hayes contacted the Age to offer them a bed if they were going that way.
"We have enjoyed great hospitality in Germany, and had quite a few German gappers, friends of friends, stay with us. Tourists are easy game for the low-lifes of our country," she said.
And New Zealander Nicole Jenison, living in the US, made contact to say she would love to contribute to a fund, if one was set up for Nico and Janina, so they could continue their trip around New Zealand.
The messages have been passed on to Nico and Janina via email, but attempts to contact them have not been successful.