The Egyptian village where a New Zealand woman was kept hostage by her abusive husband has pulled together to support her and clear the town's name.

Sharon Churchill, 41, escaped from her husband with the help of New Zealand diplomats after suffering emotional abuse, beatings with a whip and starvation.

Shocked residents of Dahab, by the Red Sea, are trying to help Ms Churchill recover the $30,000 she says her ex-husband stole from her.

This week they confronted him with documents provided by the Waikato woman in a bid to get her money, but he insisted he only owed her 40,000 Egyptian pounds (about $8000), said village leader Mohamed Soliman.


"All the people were not happy about what we see in the news and we also not happy with what [he] do with her. All this is sad really."

Ms Churchill has also received a text message from her ex-husband asking her how he could repay the money - and saying he forgave her.

She said she sent him her bank details but had not received any money.

Dahab locals wanted people to know "not all the Egyptian man like this" and their community was a safe place, Mr Soliman said.

The tourist hotspot is known for its diving, windsurfing, camel treks and proximity to biblical Mt Sinai.

Ms Churchill said she had been contacted by two of her ex-husband's former girlfriends - one in Latvia and another in Egypt - since the article was published, who told her it brought back bad memories.

Ms Churchill fell in love when the pair met while she was on holiday 10 months ago. After a return trip to Egypt, she decided to settle with him in the South Sinai.

But the relationship went quickly downhill and she ultimately became his hostage, she said.


"There were a couple of days I didn't have water or food. I lost 12kg in six weeks. It was semi-starvation."

She said he also expected her to pay for everything, including the household expenses and $20,000 to buy a car.

Her ex-husband has denied the claims, saying he never assaulted her and that problems in their relationship were her fault.

"In other countries the man feel the woman she don't respect him and I find that in her. It's not my fault."