A 14-year-old Nelson boy had the time of his life fishing from the Mangonui wharf over the Christmas/New Year period, but it didn't end well.

His holiday took a turn for the worse when he "lost" his tackle box, prompting him to make an impassioned, if optimistic, plea for its return.

Lewis painted a sign, which he propped up against the memorial adjacent to the wharf, and while it has not had the desired effect of reuniting him with his gear, it did touch some local heart strings.

Lynette Wilson, from Hihi Olive Estate, said Doubtless Bay Promotions had come up with a T-shirt and $100 for a Hunting and Fishing Voucher. Ms Wilson and Jan Fergusson, from the Butler Point Whaling Museum, added another $100 between them.


"It was really important to me that Lewis didn't leave our wonderful Doubtless Bay Beach Paradise in a negative way, having had the bad experience of 'losing' his pride and joy," Ms Wilson said.

The Northland Age has not managed to contact Lewis yet, but he had told her that the wharf had been busy that day. He had taken his rods to the car, and when he returned his tackle box had disappeared.

Ms Wilson said she had been very impressed with the teenager, and had been happy to help make up for his loss.

"He is 14 years old, and it was so refreshing to have a lovely phone conversation with a young person who didn't grunt at me in mono-syllables," she said.

"I do hope this hasn't changed his opinion of Doubtless Bay, where he had been having a wonderful holiday. And I would like the rest of New Zealand to know that we do care about what happens to our visitors, no matter how old they are."