When Poppy Langdon, 12, found out a jar full of tips to go towards her trip to China had been stolen, she said "the person who took it probably needs the money more than me".
The Kaitao Intermediate pupil is among 11 going on a school trip to China in September. One of the ways she has been fundraising is by helping out at Honey Comb hair salon every Saturday sweeping hair and selling raffles.
Her mum Jody Langdon said while she was there the hairdressers would put any tips they had in a jar for Poppy.
But some time last week that jar went missing.
Salon owner Sarah Pearson said she noticed the jar, hand-made and covered in glitter by Poppy, was missing on Friday.
"Can you believe it?" Pearson asked. "It saddens me that someone thought they could help themselves."
She described Poppy as an "absolute sweetheart" and said the youngster's belief the person who took the jar needed the money more than she did was not surprising.
"She comes in here every Saturday and works, she has also made headbands and brooches and sells them to customers to raise money for her trip."
Pearson said the tip jar had been emptied just prior to Christmas and it was hard to say how much, money had been in it when it was taken.
"We have had tourists put donations in their own currency in the jar, I know there was an amount of Canadian money in there."
Saturday customers who had heard of the tip-jar theft were happy to contribute by way of a new fundraising jar.
"I've also had a staff member who has not met Poppy, make a donation," Pearson said.
"The theft will not dampen our spirits, we're here to help people and be happy and that's what we'll continue to do and be."
Poppy needs to raise just over $5000 for the trip and is about halfway there.
She's been doing sausage sizzles, raffles, quiz nights and making and selling hair bands and brooches.
Langdon said they had been given a lot of support.
"The Rotorua community has been really neat because a lot of parents have done the same thing so they always stop and help out and buy a sausage or help support other kids."
Langdon said they didn't have any hard feelings about the loss of the jar.
"We're just really sad for the girls at Honey Comb. It's sad how they would feel. They are the centre of the community in town they'll always do something for someone else."
Even though they are "gutted", Poppy will be back at the salon fundraising next weekend.
She'll also be selling her headbands and brooches at the Positive Ageing Expo on Sunday at the Energy Events Centre.
Poppy said she was excited for the trip.
"I'm really interested to learn about Chinese culture and all the new experiences and history I'll get to learn."