A pair or tourists came to New Zealand from Colombia, a country with a reputation for danger, only to be robbed on a Turangi street in broad daylight.
The two young men were robbed of a cellphone, cash and belongings and as a result were both traumatised and "p***** off", says their Rotorua Airbnb host.
The host put the pair up after they finished dealing with police. Understandably, the young men quickly left Turangi and headed north.
The host, who did not want to be named, said the two young Colombian men were in New Zealand for study and told his Spanish-speaking wife they had travelled south from their Auckland base for the weekend and booked Airbnb accommodation in Turangi.
But as they were driving along Atirau Rd in Turangi, a car in front of them stopped and two men with facial tattoos and bandannas threatened them.
One was holding an object under his jacket which the Colombians feared was a weapon.
While one of the young men had time to hide his cellphone, the pair were forced to hand over the rest of their possessions.
After the robbery, they happened across a police car on the road and decided to report it to the officer. Otherwise, they had not planned to involve police.
Their Airbnb host also arrived and offered to look after them but the young men wanted to get out of Turangi and headed to Rotorua, finally arriving at about midnight, the host said.
They stayed two nights in Rotorua and returned to Auckland this morning.
The host says it was ironic the men had come to New Zealand only to be robbed when their own country had the reputation for danger.
Despite the reputation, Lonely Planet reports safety in the the Latin American country has improved in recent years, though pockets of guerillas and drug traffickers remained a concern.
"Today, most travelers will find Colombia safer on average than all of the country's immediate neighbors – an astonishing turnaround," the Lonely Planet website says.
"Problems remain, however. Street crime is still an issue, especially in bigger cities including Bogotá, Calí, Pereira and Medellín, so vigilance and common sense are always required; and guerrillas, paramilitaries and narco-traffickers still linger in some Colombian departments (although the peace deal with the FARC and formal peace talks with the ELN could mean guerrillas will soon be a thing of the past) so forward planning is essential if you are going to get really off the beaten track."
Taupo police have been asked for comment on the men's complaint.