Wellington, August 20 (ANI): A Niwa ecologist, from Hamilton, has come to be called 'Lord of the Ring' by his friends after plucking his wedding ring from the bottom of Wellington Harbour, 16 months after he lost it.
Aleki Taumoepeau was checking the harbour for invasive plant species in March last year, when the ring slipped from his finger.
Soon afterwards, he hastily threw an old anchor overboard to mark the spot where the ring had fallen, and promised his wife Rachel that he would find it.
He never gave up hope that he would find the ring, and even refused her offers to buy a replacement.
"She kept saying to me when we went out, 'I'll have to buy you a new ring,' but I just said, 'No, I'll find it,"' stuff.co.nz quoted him as saying.
His wife said: "It flew off into the air and everyone on the boat was looking at it and said it was like a scene from Lord of the Rings in slow motion."
Back in the capital for a conference three months after the mishap, Taumoepeau decided to borrow dive gear from colleagues to search.
Since conditions were bad and the GPS co-ordinates he had noted down at the time were wrong, he came away empty-handed.
A year later, Taumoepeau returned with some new co-ordinates garnered from Niwa and website Google Earth.
This time his wife and their nine-month-old son, Alekisanita, watched from the Petone shore.
"I thought he was mad going back a year after. Even people on the beach were saying 'Is he OK? Is he a bit crazy?'" she said
In three metres of water near the Hutt River mouth, Taumoepeau hunted for the anchor, and after an hour, he stopped to catch his breath and, while doing so, asked for some divine intervention.
"I was getting cold and tired so I said to God it would be really good to find the ring about now," he said.
He then looked down, spied the anchor, and found the ring just centimetres away from it.
"I couldn't believe that I could see the ring so perfectly. I was thinking I won't see all of the ring, maybe part of it, but the whole top surface of the ring was glowing," he said.
His wife heard him cheering and screaming in the water.
"I couldn't believe it. It was the power of prayer," she said. (ANI)