Locals in New Zealand aid Dutch traveller whose van was stolen, along with all her possessions

A Dutch woman who had her life turned upside-down when all her possessions were stolen has changed her mind about ditching New Zealand, thanks to kindness from Kiwis.

On November 27, Jolinda de Jong parked her van in at a paid car park in Bluff and caught a ferry to Stewart Island.

When she retuned from doing the Rakiura track on November 30, her van was missing from its parking space.

De Jong said she was told by the police that the cameras were not operating at the car park and that it was notoriously known for theft there by locals.

The incident had left de Jong homeless and wanting her to return to the Netherlands.

However, since her story went public, de Jong had a change of heart.

Kiwis from throughout the country had got in touch to help her get back on her feet.

"I must say that I'm a bit overwhelmed with all the reactions and the people that want to help me," she said.

Well-wishers from Auckland to Invercargill and in-between had offered her money, free accommodation, and use of their cars.

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It had got to the point where there had been so many people in contact, de Jong had not been able to reply to everyone.

She had not taken up on any offers of accommodation, but had emailed people to say if she is in the area, she would be in touch.

She had been given more than $NZ2100 ($A1980) worth of donations on Givealitte – opened after so many people had contacted her.

"One person was super generous and gave me $NZ1000," she said.

There had also been other anonymous donations sent to her.

De Jong is on her way to Wellington to get a replacement passport from the embassy, but afterwards she had a new plan to replace van-life.

"I was thinking of doing a bit more Wwoof'ing now," she said.

Wwoofer participates in the daily life of an organic farm, helps out on farms, learns about sustainability and receives free room and board for the stay.

A police spokesman said the investigation into the theft of the van was still open, however there were no updates.

Stuff.co.nz

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