Attacked hitchhikers released from hospital

JOELLE DALLY
Last updated 18:10 07/04/2014
Michaela Brandl
Facebook
ON HOLIDAY: Michaela Brandl was stabbed three times in the neck while hitchhiking from Whataroa to Queenstown.
Niki Honda
Facebook
OUT OF HOSPITAL: Niki Honda, a Japanese-Dutch tourist, suffered pelvic injuries in the attack.

Related Links

Christchurch murder, West Coast hitchhiker attack charges Support floods in for attacked hitchhikers Injured hitchhikers aim to keep travelling Attacked hitchhikers grateful for support

Relevant offers

Hitchhiker Niki Honda wants to thank the roadside rescuers who ''saved our lives'' after she and Michaela Brandl were attacked.

The 27-year-old Japanese-Dutch tourist has also credited Brandl as being ''the bravest woman I've ever met'' and offered her condolences to family and friends of slain Christchurch woman Amy Farrall. 

Both tourists were discharged from Christchurch Hospital today and a bank account set up to help them has so far received $14,035 in donations. 

In a statement issued through police today, Honda thanked their rescuers on the West Coast that day, saying she also hoped to do so in person. 

''They saved our lives. There are no words to describe the appreciation I feel. I would really like to get their names and see them,'' she said. 

''I am truly sorry to hear of the loss of Ms Amy Farrall. My thoughts and prayers go to her family and friends during this difficult time.

''I would like to thank especially my new friend Michaela, the bravest woman I've ever met. I don't know what would have happened to me without her, and she has given me the greatest support to get through this. I feel so blessed that we have each other.'' 

Honda said she was determined to stay positive, laugh, be happy and ''smile like I always did'', despite what had felt like a ''long dream I can't wake up from''.

The pair, who met recently in Nelson, were hitch-hiking from Whataroa to Queenstown when they were attacked by a man who picked them up. The women were found on the side of the road at Franz Josef with serious injuries on March 30. 

Brandl was stabbed three times in the neck and Honda suffered a broken pelvis as she escaped the moving vehicle. 

Honda said the incident had not changed her perception of New Zealanders.

''There are bad people in every country. Maybe this was my destiny to appreciate life once again," she said. 

A 38-year-old Otaki man has been charged with wounding Brandl and robbing the two women while armed with a metal bar.

The 38-year-old, whose name is suppressed, has also been charged with the murder of Farrall, a community support worker. 

Ad Feedback

He will appear in the High Court in Christchurch on April 16.

Honda and Brandl have declined media interviews. 

NIKI HONDA'S FULL STATEMENT

Thank you New Zealand for all the love and support.

The letters and flowers we received at the hospital helped get us through the first intensive days.

Now the police have informed us there has been an account opened for donations too.

We feel so blessed, we don't know what to say.

I have been travelling in your beautiful country for two months and I know Kiwis are some of the nicest people in the world. This will not change for me. There are bad people in every country. Maybe this was my destiny to appreciate life once again.

I am truly sorry to hear of the loss of Ms Amy Farrall. My thoughts and prayers go to her family and friends during this difficult time.

Sometimes all of this feels like a dream, a long dream I can't wake up from. Still, life goes on. And life is about appreciating everything around you, to be positive, to laugh and be happy.

It won't be always easy, but I don't want to forget who I am. I want to smile like I always did.

Right now we would like to have a good long rest, and focus on our well-being. I would like to see a little bit more of New Zealand, but taking it slowly.

I would like to once again thank everyone who is supporting us: the doctors and nurses, the police, members of Victim Support, my family and friends. I couldn't go through this without them.

And I would like to thank the people who rescued us. They saved our lives. There are no words to describe the appreciation I feel. I would really like to get their names and see them.

And last, I would like to thank especially my new friend Michaela, the bravest woman I've ever met. I don't know what would have happened to me without her, and she has given me the greatest support to get through this.

I feel so blessed that we have each other.

Hontou ni arigatou.

- The Press

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content

Quiz SMALL pointer June 26

Daily trivia fix

Is chess your forte?