Offers have flooded in from Herald readers wanting to help an 85-year-old pensioner who lost his life savings and passport while he was gardening.

Lu Qing Zhai, who lives on superannuation and supplements his income by growing and selling vegetables, had been saving to visit his two daughters in Australia and an autistic son in China.

Offers to help the elderly man, originally from China, have flooded into the Herald this morning.

Most are for money, and others want to set up Givealittle or Gofundme pages. One offered to pay for air tickets to visit his family.


The Herald understands at least one Givealittle page has already been set up, but this had been done without Lu's consent or knowledge.

Lu said he appreciates the offers, but he does not want any charity or money.

"I only want my passport and other personal items back," Lu said through a translator.

"I just wish people will stop stealing other people's things."

Lu feels New Zealand and New Zealanders had already given him "a lot".

He added: "I don't want to take their money, why would I need it for?"

Thieves entered his St Johns home on October 31 while he was tending to his vegetable garden.

They made away with his wallet, containing about $700 cash, mobile phone, passport and ASB Bank eftpos card.


About $3000 has since been withdrawn from his account and his bank card was also used to pay for $50 worth of fuel at a petrol station.

Lu, a Falun Gong practitioner, came to New Zealand as a refugee about 10 years ago.

Poutama Tsoi, a friend and support person, said Lu did not have family in New Zealand.

His daughter, who came here as a refugee, had moved to Brisbane after marrying an Australian citizen.

Tsoi said without transport and facing language difficulties, it would be a "mountain of a challenge" for Lu to apply for a replacement passport and the other items that were stolen.

"He used to depend on food parcels and has always lived frugally, but he is also a man who does not believe in receiving charity," Tsoi said.

"He is hoping that the people who stole his passport and things would post it back to him or drop it off anonymously after reading the article."

Police said the burglary is still being investigated.