25 Jun 2010

Mystery New Zealand woman thought to be found among Hawaii homeless

3:41 pm on 25 June 2010

An elderly woman who authorities in Hawaii believe is from New Zealand went undetected for 10 years among Waikiki's homeless population.

Government and hospital authorities know the woman as 'Josie May' and are desperate to find her family.

Her government appointed guardian, Roger Petticord, says she only came to their attention when she was hospitalised for eight months because she had no home to go to.

Mr Petticord says she was lost in Waikiki's sizeable homeless community.

"And some of them become, quite, quite like landmarks in the neighbourhood, they're just there. And people will give them handouts. And many of them have mental health problems. I didn't know her then but she seemed to be quite comfortable in that area as comfortable as you can be under those circumstances. Duration 20 seconds"

Roger Petticord.

The Stuff website in New Zealand is reporting a Bay of Plenty family have claimed Josie May as whanau, saying she left for Alaska 20 years ago and that her name is Ethel.

They say her father was a decorated soldier in the 28th Maori Battalion.