UPDATED 6:45am: People are being warned to be wary of fake monks or nuns asking for donations.
The warning comes from the Buddhist community in the wake of reports a fake monk is conning people into giving him money in central Wellington.
New Zealand Buddhist Council chairperson Amala Wrightson, can't confirm whether the monk is genuine, but says she is aware of scams like this happening in Australia.
She says there are a few ways people can spot a fake.
"If it was genuine, the monk or nun will just stand quietly and wait for someone to approach him or her to offer. And usually they would only receive food, not money."
Ms Wrightson says the spirit of donating in Buddhism is about giving because you want to, not because you feel you have to.
"It's sensible to ask for the name and address and charity commission number of the organisation, because most Buddhist temples in New Zealand are registered charities."
Ms Wrightson notes true monks or nuns would accept the offer gracefully, and not ask for more.