For the members of Amnesty International's Hawke's Bay branch the New Year could not have got off to a better start.
Ditto for Kartam Joga - a man they have never met but know quite well.
For the past 29 months Mr Joga, who is an indigenous rights campaigner in central India's Chhattisgarh state, had been locked up in the Jagdalpur prison.
He, along with others of his indigenous Adivasi community, were imprisoned after being charged with what Amnesty International called false charges during times when they were "peacefully defending the rights of Adivasi communities."
He was named as a prisoner of conscience - detained for expressing his views and what Amnesty International said were peaceful demands for accountability, and an end to the impunity for human rights violations suffered by Adivasi during ongoing clashes.
Mr Joga had been elected to a local self-government body in the region before the charges were laid and he was imprisoned.
Several charges were dropped last year, and the remaining charges were dropped after a trial court acquittal earlier this week.
Louisa Palairet, spokeswoman for Amnesty International in Hawke's Bay, said the group took up Mr Joga's cause after learning of his imprisonment.
She and other members of the group sent dozens of letters to Human Rights, Justice and Government officials in India campaigning for his release.
As well, they sent cards and letters to Mr Joga while he languished behind bars.
"Expressing our solidarity and support, and wishing him well," Mrs Palairet said of the correspondence.
On Monday they got the good news he had been acquitted on all charges, and on Tuesday, four of the group, Mrs Palairet, Beth Allardice, Tony Johnson and Deb Richardson gathered in Napier for a celebratory cup of tea to toast Mr Joga's release from prison, and signed a goodwill card they have now sent to him.
"A terrific outcome," Mrs Palairet said.
After his release Mr Joga thanked Amnesty International and the other organisations which had campaigned for his release.
He said the messages of support, like those he got from his new friends in the distant province of Hawke's Bay, were a key factor in keeping his spirits and hopes up that he would be released one day.