A Chinese traveller received a rude introduction to Wairarapa after her bike was stolen from outside a church she was visiting on Monday, leaving her stranded.

Maya Zhang worked for three years in her hometown of Chongqing to save up for her New Zealand cycling holiday which she began last month.

Having cycled 1100km, starting in Auckland, Miss Zhang was passing through Carterton when she stopped at St Mark's Anglican Church "just to sit in there and have a rest".

Her bike and all of her belongings were stolen.


"I'm not a Christian," she said. "I just wanted to sit there and feel the atmosphere because churches in New Zealand are very serene."

Miss Zhang said New Zealand felt "so safe" to her and that normally she would lock her bike up but, in this instance, she just parked it outside the church.

"I thought churches were so safe, so I just parked it there and now everything except my purse and my passport are stolen.

"My bike, tent, sleeping bag, laptop, hard drive, all my clothes, shoes, all stolen."

Miss Zhang said she was very upset that her New Zealand adventure had come to an abrupt halt but was grateful for a passerby who had taken her into her own home for the time being.

The Carterton resident, who asked not to be named, said she happened to be walking past the church when she saw Maya who was quite distraught and looking for her bike.

"We just happened to ask if we could help and it went from there really," the woman said.

"Maya had all of her things taken from her except for her purse with her passport which she brought into the church with her. She's got no clothes, no laptop, no camping gear, no phone charger. It's just horrible really that someone would do this."

The woman said police were very helpful but so far no one had turned themselves in.

Miss Zhang said it would cost her at least $900 to buy a bike of the equivalent standard here.

"I was planning on going to the South Island to do some more cycling but now I just can't do it because I won't have enough money if I buy all those things back.

"Here is so much more expensive than my hometown. It's like five times more and it will spend all my money."

Miss Zhang said she is most upset about her hard drive and laptop being stolen because she now has no photos from the past six years of her life.

"They were the only copies and now I'll never get them back."

Miss Zhang's bike was black with green lettering and was bought in Taiwan on her last cycling adventure.

If a bike has been seen matching this description, Miss Zhang asked that it be reported to police.

In the meantime, she is staying in Carterton, and looking for work with her holiday working visa to pay for a new bike.

"I won't give up, I won't quit," she said.