Hamilton couple recover long lost wedding ring
Thursday 20 Aug 2009 5:53 p.m.
By Adam Hollingworth
A Hamilton couple have been explaining how the husband found his wedding ring when the odds seemed stacked against him.
He recovered it in 3m of water in Wellington Harbour, 16 months after it flew from his finger and over the side of a boat.
Aleki Taumoepeau had been married to Rachel three months when the unthinkable happened as he worked for NIWA in Wellington Harbour.
"Everyone saw it go into the water and it was a bit of a bit of a, like, oh did I just believe what I saw, you know, the ring flying off," says Mr Taumoepeau.
He immediately marked the spot with an old anchor but his next thoughts were closer to home.
"It was just a blank at the time," says Mr Taumoepeau. "What's my wife going to think - probably threw it overboard."
"Yeah I wasn't too disappointed I mean had he lost it anywhere else probably it would have been questionable but no it was ok but I told him not to worry we'll get another ring but he was quite determined from day one that he'd find it," says Mrs Taumoepeau.
His first dive three months later drew a blank. The water, too murky. But a year on he returned to the scene.
"I just started yelling you know I was just going yeah you know and Rachel could hear me," says Mr Taumoepeau.
"Then I see him jumping up and cheering and I'm on the phone and I said to the person on the other line oh my gosh I think he's found the ring and the person on the other phone was like oh my gosh, has he found the ring and then I thought maybe not, maybe he's just cheering because he's happy to be in the water," says Mrs Taumoepeau.
But sure enough, it was the ring Aleki had lost sixteen months previously.
"Someone said to me you must be the luckiest woman in the world and I said I guess I am cause I don't need to buy him another ring," says Mrs Taumoepeau.
There's one more twist to this story. Aleki's surname Taumoepeau means "wave warrior" in Tongan. His family used to joke that's because he got seasick, but no-one's laughing now.
"You know he has a spirit of perseverance, I guess he really loves that ring," says Mrs Taumoepeau. "It also says I guess it was really important to him and I guess it was our wedding band, and I guess it says that he really does love me."