Attacked hitchhikers grateful for support
Two tourists attacked while hitchhiking have thanked New Zealanders and "angels" for helping them survive and recover.
Michaela Brandl, 28, was stabbed three times in the neck while Niki Honda, 27, a Japanese-Dutch tourist, suffered pelvic injuries.
The pair, who had recently met in Nelson, were hitchhiking from Whataroa to Queenstown when they were attacked by a man who picked them up last Sunday.
The tourists were found on the side of the road at Franz Josef with serious injuries about 4pm on Sunday.
In a joint statement to the pair expressed their "deepest gratitude for all the support and compassion which reached us from the very first moments".
"So many people, strangers, sent us flowers, cards or presents and we are deeply touched by every single one of them, as well as by all the good wishes, thoughts and prayers."
"We feel like many angels were sent to us in this situation. We still believe in the good (God) in everything and still feel that New Zealand is one of the most beautiful and peaceful countries on this planet."
"We met so many great people here and our trust in this place and the people is unbroken."
"As soon as we recover and have had enough rest, we'd love to travel on, here and anywhere. It's good to be alive."
A 38-year-old Otaki man has been charged with wounding Brandl and robbing the two women while armed with a metal bar. The man, whose name is suppressed, has also been charged with the murder of Christchurch caregiver Amy Elizabeth Farrall.
A bank account has been set up for the two women to receive donations.
The bank account for donations to the women is: 06-0821-0714633-00
The account name is: Donation Fund for Niki and Michaela.