A woman two German tourists met on a bus has become their "Kiwi angel" by opening her backyard and home to them after they lost nearly all their belongings.
Annika Reitemeier, 23, and Markus Kaufmann, 24, have been "camping" in the backyard of the New Zealander, who wanted to be known only as Mary, after their rental van was broken into at a carpark in central Auckland on March 17.
The couple, from Cologne, lost their belongings, including passports, cameras, laptop and other gear worth about $6000, within 20 hours of their arrival in Auckland.
"Coming to New Zealand after travelling to countries like South Africa, Tanzania and India, we were totally shocked that this happened to us here," said Ms Reitemeier.
"We didn't know what to do, but thought of Mary, whom we met on the bus earlier in the day and had her card, so we rang her."
Mary not only offered her back garden for them to pitch their tent - one of the few items that had not been taken from the van - she is also welcoming them into her Mt Albert house for dinner and hot showers.
"Mary is truly our Kiwi angel, and we would be at a total loss if she didn't offer us a place to stay," said Ms Reitemeier.
Mary said she decided to help the young tourists because she felt "embarrassed as a New Zealander".
"It's just embarrassing what's happened to them, and opening up the house is just my way of wanting to make it a little more pleasant to a very, very awkward situation," she said.
On March 17, a Saturday, the couple parked their Jucy rental 1998 Silver Toyota Lucida Estima at Wilson Parking in Gore St about 2pm and went to a tourist information centre for ideas on what to do here.
"We came back after parking for less than half an hour and were absolutely stunned to find the front passenger window smashed, curtains ripped and blood on the glovebox," said Mr Kaufmann.
"We just cannot believe that such a thing can happen in broad daylight in the centre of the city."
Last Wednesday, Mr Kaufmann called the police after he spotted a man on a city-bound bus wearing his clothes.
Several other clothing items were recovered from the man's bag after he was detained, but Mr Kaufmann said the man claimed he had found them and was not responsible for the theft.
Their passports, which were found in Auckland Domain, have also been returned to them.
Police spokeswoman Noreen Hegarty said yesterday that a man had been arrested and charged with theft from a vehicle.
The couple are planning to stay in New Zealand for another month.