Police have recovered priceless mementos stolen from a mum who lost her baby boy to a rare bone marrow disease and arrested a teenager over the incident.

Dayna Ritchie was left distraught after her handbag was stolen from Auckland International Airport's domestic terminal on Friday.

Inside were irreplaceable reminders of her boy Reef Paton, who died in September when he was 19 months old.

The mementos included a cellphone with more than 1000 photos of Reef and a prized rose quartz that Reef had held at the moment he died, which Ms Ritchie said was the "most special" of the lost keepsakes.


She provided a statement to police on Sunday and said progress had been made.

Ms Ritchie said two necklaces and some other possessions ditched in bins were retrieved, but it wasn't yet clear where her cellphone and Reef's prized rose quartz were.

Airport spokesman Simon Lambourne said the airport had identified CCTV footage of the moment Ms Ritchie's bag was taken and had provided those details to police.

Ms Ritchie said police had confronted two people of interest on Sunday.

"They went yesterday and arrested the two people for being in possession of them. They've given them an ultimatum overnight to retrieve everything because they said they'd sold it all."

Police this afternoon said they had also recovered a cellphone of interest to the investigation. However, charges had not yet been laid.

"Auckland Airport police are speaking with a 17-year-old woman from Mangere regarding the theft of a handbag from Auckland Airport," a Counties Manukau Police spokeswoman said.

"The woman and her immediate family are assisting police with inquiries."


Ms Ritchie said part of her actually felt sorry for whoever took the bag -- but that didn't change the fact her mementos should be returned.

She said there been a huge outpouring of public support since she told her story over the weekend.

"It's been pretty amazing really."

Ms Ritchie added she was grateful to the people of Mangere who let her put up flyers around the town centre about the incident.

She said anyone who had her phone should hand it in to a police station or message her or her partner Andre Paton on Facebook. The couple can be reached through the "Reef's journey" Facebook page.