The donuts. Photo / Andrew Warner 240920aw04.JPG
New Zealand Defence Force personnel have been given free doughnuts for morning tea as a way of saying thanks for helping a woman who was being stalked by a man on a bike while she went running.
The woman, who only wanted to be known as Rach, was followed by the man on Monday afternoon as she ran through the Puarenga Park just after 4.30pm.
When the woman realised she was being followed, she scrambled through bush and trees to Te Ngae Rd where there were more people around and made the decision to run towards Sudima Hotel where the army staff were manning the isolation hotel.
The army staff comforted the shaken woman and helped her ring police. They also drove her back to her car at Puarenga Park to ensure she was safe.
Rach told the Rotorua Daily Post she wanted to say thanks and arranged for two boxes of doughnuts from Baked Rotorua. However, she was surprised when Carey Baker from Baked Rotorua told her they would be free of charge.
"I just think people don't say thank you enough," Baker told the Rotorua Daily Post.
"It is just paying it forward. They were kind to her [Rach] and so we thought we would give them to her free of charge."
Rach said she also arranged for a bouquet of flowers to be sent to Lorraine Taylor, a woman who helped her on Te Ngae Rd by taking a photo of the man following her while she ran.
Warrant Officer Class 2 Samuel Porteous said they were happy to help the community while also ensuring the people in the isolation hotel were being kept safe.
"We are watching out for all sorts, anything suspicious and we will continue to do so. I'm sure the team who were working that day will be really grateful for these doughnuts."
Police were to source CCTV footage of the man and hoped to track his identity from that.
It was not yet known that if caught he could be charged with anything as police said earlier this week that despite his actions being unacceptable, he hadn't committed an offence.
However, police said he was very keen to talk to him to send a strong message his behaviour was frightening and would not be tolerated.
A police spokeswoman said today they were "continuing to explore lines of inquiry".
The man was described as Māori or Polynesian, aged between 18 and 20, tall and slim, thick moustache, wearing a white long sleeve top with long black pants, black cap and short hair underneath. He was riding a bike and carrying a reusable black Pak'nSave bag.