A note to his sister to eat her peas sparked a Whangarei boy to put a message in a bottle which took eight years to travel 19,000km to Spain.

Julien Joy was 7 years old in 2010 when he wrote the message and his mum Jana popped it in a zip lock bag, slotted it into a wine bottle and hurled the bottle into Whangarei Harbour off Manganese Point.

Mrs Joy seems to think the idea was inspired by a tiny glass bottle which had been glued among shells to the family's bathroom mirror.

Jana Joy and son Julien can't believe their message in a bottle made it to Spain eight years later. Photo/John Stone
Jana Joy and son Julien can't believe their message in a bottle made it to Spain eight years later. Photo/John Stone

At some point, Julien's sister Jaida had put a tiny note in the bottle which said: "Jaida eat your peas."

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One day, the bottle fell off and broke and the note was found and prompted Julien to want to do the same thing.

Despite not remembering writing the letter, Julien, now 15, remembers walking around the rocks to the point and the bottle being thrown out, then waiting a bit to see if it went anywhere.

Mrs Joy didn't expect the bottle to make it past Ruakaka.

Jana Joy and son Julien in early 2010 around the time the two launched the bottle into Whangarei Harbour. Photo/Supplied
Jana Joy and son Julien in early 2010 around the time the two launched the bottle into Whangarei Harbour. Photo/Supplied

The pair couldn't remember exactly what the letter said, but Mrs Joy said she told Julien to write his name, address, a bit about the family and a request to write a letter when found.

On February 21 this year, a letter from a German woman called Luisa arrived in the post.

"Last summer I spent my vacation with my family near Bilbao [in Spain], in the little village Mundaka at the Atlantic ocean coast," her letter reads, of a journey that would have covered more than 20,000km.

"On a walk at the beach my mom found your message in a bottle covered with sand and seaweed. We opened it and decided to send you a message."

Julien said he was particularly surprised to see the bottle had ended up in Spain.

"I didn't expect to see that, probably be somewhere down south [in NZ], not all the way up there."

Mrs Joy said the bottle was just sealed with a screw top lid.

In her letter in reply, Luisa said her oldest sister is a navy officer who works on a ship, and Luisa asked her to release the bottle again in the North Sea between France and England.

"I hope that your message will be transported with the Gulf Stream maybe up to Africa or maybe even up to South America."

Mrs Joy said she had made contact with Luisa over Facebook, where she learned Luisa had put Julien's message back in the bottle, along with a message from her own family.

"It would be really crazy if we get another reply," Mrs Joy said.