Three German tourists were taking their last shower before leaving the country when they lost all their belongings.

Tim Potschka, Igor Tows and Theo Jacobi parked their campervan outside the old Auckland train station for two hours while they went to a nearby backpackers to freshen up.

They planned to fly out of New Zealand the next day after a month of touring the country. But when they returned to their van, it had been broken into. Everything - including laptops, wallets and passports - was gone.

"We were shocked and helpless. We didn't know what to do," said Mr Potschka. He said they called police, but nobody arrived for four hours, so they went to the station and "they wrote it down and that's it".

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The trio thought of a man they had met on their second day when they went swimming at Beachlands - and he was able to arrange for them to stay with the local Elim pastor, Luke Brough, who took them to church on Sunday.

"The people donated money to us. We were speechless. I don't know if we should say [how much], but it's a lot and we're very grateful." They are awaiting new passports.