A Northland woman's horror as a gust of wind blew her business takings down Kaikohe's main street turned to amazement as honest locals chased the flying cash and gave it her by the armful.
Not only did Medea Goodwin recover every dollar of the $800 she thought she'd lost, when she went to bank the money she found she was $10 up.
She's still not sure if she made a mistake when she counted the cash in the first place, or if one of the retrieved $10 notes wasn't hers.
Goodwin, who owns Hokianga Takeaways in Rawene, was on a regular trip to Kaikohe to do her banking on Wednesday last week when disaster struck.
Just as she was stepping out of her car near the intersection of Broadway and Station Rd a powerful gust of wind hit.
She may have picked up her bag upside down or the wind may have been strong enough to suck out the contents. Whatever the cause, she watched horrified as a flurry of five, 10, 20 and 50 dollar bills sailed up Kaikohe's main street.
Two drivers waiting to turn out of Station Rd saw the drama unfold in front of them. Both jumped out of their vehicles and started scrambling after the flying banknotes.
''I had a crack at running after the money but it just kept blowing further down the street. I managed to grab about $50. I saw all these people running and I thought the absolute worst.''
When Goodwin turned around, however, she saw a woman approaching her with an armful of scrunched-up banknotes.
Next was a young man who handed over a large handful of cash, and finally a girl of about 10 who had caught two $50 notes, a fortune for a child of that age.
By that time both Station Rd and Broadway were blocked and traffic was starting to build up.
''I had to be fast because of the traffic so I didn't really have time to thank them properly. Everyone who stopped to help was so kind. I was so flustered, there was no way I could have done it if those people hadn't helped me,'' she said.
Unwilling to take any more chances with the wind, Goodwin went straight to the bank, dumped the banknotes on a table and started flattening them out.
To her amazement she counted $810, $10 more than she thought she had in the first place.
The experience had changed her view of Kaikohe.
''To be honest I thought Kaikohe was a bit of a tough town, but this totally restored my faith.''
Later Goodwin took to social media in a bid to track down her helpers and thank them properly. She also wanted to offer them shopping vouchers as a sign of her gratitude.
It didn't take long to find the woman who stopped on Station Rd and recovered the armful of cash: Wiki Rodger.
Rodger, however, was adamant she didn't want a reward.
Writing on a Kaikohe Facebook page, Rodger said she was glad to help.
''See, there are good people in our town who would risk gravel rash to help others. No other thanks required,'' she said.
Goodwin said she had yet to find the young man driving a ute, possibly a tradie, or the young girl.
Mike Edmonds, chairman of the Kaikohe-Hokianga Community Board, said he was ''not at all surprised'' by the display of honesty.
In fact, he would find it disappointing if anyone was surprised.
''Kaikohe, like New Zealand generally, is a fundamentally honest place. We forget that when we start to play one town off against another.''
Originally from Masterton, Goodwin moved to Rawene two years ago to go into business with her mum, Belinda.
Their Parnell St takeaway shop specialises in fresh, Hokianga-caught flounder and mullet, alongside standard takeaway offerings and treats such as pāua fritters and gourmet burgers.
On two separate occasions in 2013 Hikurangi residents gathered thousands of dollars in cash thought to have blown out the back of a black four-wheel drive. Most of the money was handed to the grateful driver.
It remains a mystery why the driver had so much loose cash in his car and how he managed to lose it twice in a matter of months.
• Email the Advocate at email@example.com or call (09) 407 3287 if you know the honest young man or the girl.