A woman's horror as a gust of wind blew her business takings down Kaikohe's main street turned to amazement as honest locals chased the flying cash and gave it to her by the armful.
Not only did Medea Goodwin recover every dollar of the $800 she thought she'd lost; when she went to bank the money she found she was $10 up. She's still not sure if she made a mistake when she counted the cash in their first place, or if one of the retrieved $10 notes wasn't hers.
Ms Goodwin, who owns Hokianga Takeaways, in Rawene, was on a regular trip to Kaikohe to do her banking when disaster struck in the form of a powerful gust of wind, just as she stepped out of her car near the intersection of Broadway and Station Rd.
She may have picked up her bag upside down, or the wind may have been strong enough to suck out the contents, but however it happened, she could only watch, horrified, as a flurry of bank notes sailed up the main street.
Two drivers waiting to turn out of Station Rd saw the drama unfold in front of them. Both jumped out of their vehicles and started scrambling after the cash.
"I had a crack at running after the money but it just kept blowing further down the street. I managed to grab about $50. I saw all these people running and I thought the absolute worst," she said.
When she turned around, however, she saw a woman approaching her with an armful of scrunched-up banknotes. Next was a young man, who handed over a large handful of cash, and finally a girl of about 10, who had caught two $50 notes, a fortune for a child of that age.
By that time both Station Rd and Broadway were blocked and traffic was starting to build up.
"I had to be fast because of the traffic, so I didn't really have time to thank them properly. Everyone who stopped to help was so kind. I was so flustered, there was no way I could have done it if those people hadn't helped me," Ms Goodwin said.
Unwilling to take any more chances with the wind she went straight to the bank, dumped the banknotes on a table and started flattening them out. To her amazement, she counted $810, $10 more than she thought she had in the first place. The experience had changed her view of Kaikohe.
"To be honest, I thought Kaikohe was a bit of a tough town, but this totally restored my faith," she said.
She took to social media in a bid to track down her helpers and thank them properly. She also wanted to offer them shopping vouchers as a sign of her gratitude. And it didn't take long to find one of them, Wiki Rodger, who wrote on a Kaikohe Facebook page that she had been glad to help, and did not want a reward. "See, there are good people in our town who would risk gravel rash to help others. No other thanks required," she wrote.
Ms Goodwin said last week that she had yet to find the young man driving a ute, possibly a tradie, or the young girl.
Mike Edmonds, chairman of the Kaikohe-Hokianga Community Board, said he was not at all surprised by the display of honesty. In fact he would find it disappointing if anyone was surprised.
"Kaikohe, like New Zealand generally, is a fundamentally honest place. We forget that when we start to play one town off against another."