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updated 8/20/2009 11:28:21 AM ET 2009-08-20T15:28:21

A New Zealand man who promised his wife he would find his wedding ring after it fell into the capital's murky harbor has succeeded — 16 months later.

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Ecologist Aleki Taumoepeau was checking Wellington harbor for invasive plant species in March last year when the ring went into 10 feet of water.

"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," Rachel Taumoepeau was quoted as saying in Thursday's Dominion Post newspaper.

He tossed an anchor overboard to mark the spot and pledged to Rachel, his wife of three months, that he would find it.

She offered to buy a replacement. "I just said 'No, I'll find it,'" he said.

An initial search three months after the loss failed, but Taumoepeau was determined. He returned again recently for another dive, risking chill midwinter temperatures.

"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 spotted the anchor — with the ring lying just inches away.

"I couldn't believe that I could see the ring so perfectly," he said. "The whole top surface of the ring was glowing" in the normally murky waters.

Friends have taken to calling Taumoepeau "Lord of the Ring."

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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