The generosity of locals has overturned German tourists Nico Lustig and Janina Hinnear's view of New Zealand.

All the couple's possessions were stolen last week at Ahipara, while they went for a walk along the beach. The brazen thief even stole the ring that Nico was planning to propose to Janina with (Thief ruins Nico's proposal, March 7).

But within hours of the story breaking, the couple were able to experience the warmth and kindness of New Zealanders, with offers of rings, accommodation and funds.
Nico said the couple were deeply moved by the response.

"We are overwhelmed from the hospitality that reaches us."

Advertisement

The pair will leave the country with fond memories, Nico said.

"Our negative experience is not the thing that we will associate to New Zealand. We will remember all this great support, the warm and selfless people, and the willingness to share."

Nico said it was never the pair's intention to ask for anything, they just hoped to have more people looking out for their stolen items.

The fact the stolen property included the ring for proposal 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," Ms Johnston 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 also 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.

Advertisement

"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.

Nico said in the last couple of days the pair had bought some new items and had continued their journey around the country.

ANOTHER THIEF

A Polish couple were also targeted by thieves on Thursday night.

They were camping in Mangonui when a man asked to borrow a phone charger. The man then attempted to steal the phone charger, Kaitaia Senior Sergeant Russell Richards said.
One of the tourists intervened to stop the man leaving, and he threw the charger back at the tourists.

A 28-year-old Coopers Beach man was later charged and appeared in Kaitaia District Court on Friday, being remanded in custody until March 22.

"It's a reminder for locals to look after the tourists because they bring money to the community and help the [vibrancy] of the community," Mr Richards said.