The directors of an Auckland Gallery are 'positively ecstatic' that a huge bronze statue of a giant gnome has been found safe and well.
The $55,000 sculpture was stolen from its plinth outside the Gow Langsford gallery in the city centre in the early hours of Christmas day.
And this morning, it was discovered at the Salvation Army in Glen Eden.
"We jumped in the car and headed out there, unsure what we were going to find, but what we did find was really quite remarkable," Gallery director Anna Jackson said.
While nothing is known about who took him (other than images from CCTV) or where he has been - the gallery is thrilled he was still in such good condition.
"He'd been placed quite lovingly at the corner of their entrance way, I think if we were going to place a sculpture in that space, we would have put it exactly where it had been placed. So that was quite a nice thing to see - that he'd been seemingly well looked after."
Neil Arnold, who found the gnome when he turned up for work, initially thought it was part of a practical joke.
"I got out of the car, saw this thing by the door and thought 'there's new bosses here, maybe it's some sort of joke that they have, as a welcoming thing', but then as I got closer I realised, no it must be the gnome that's been mentioned on the radio this morning."
This afternoon the two-metre high statue - called Thinker - was unloaded from a truck and rolled across Lorne Street to its new home inside the gallery.
Ms Jackson said everyone is delighted to have the gnome back after his extended Christmas adventure.
She they will be keeping the gnome inside the gallery for the time being but this experience hasn't put them off displaying artworks outside.
"Had it not turned up, or had the result been less pleasant, that would have been perhaps a bit harder for us to continue doing what we do."
The gallery says it will make a donation to the Salvation Army to cover the statue's overnight stay in Glen Eden.