Chance discovery reunites Auckland woman with family jewellery


A chance discovery on an Auckland motorway has reunited an Auckland woman with lost family jewellery.

Julie Denham had given up ever finding the jewellery box she lost when she moved house a year ago.

It disappeared from a stack of packing boxes somewhere en route between Snells Beach and Orewa. Tucked inside a courier bag the jewellery box was protecting her grandmother’s 1900, rose gold brooch and a pin of her mother’s.

“In the chaos of moving I didn’t realise it was even missing for a few months and after searching for the box I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to see it again,” explains Julie.

Fast forward a year and a motorway maintenance crew working for the NZ Transport Agency was picking up rubbish on the steep, rocky slopes of State Highway 1 just south of the Johnstones Hill Tunnels.

Wedged in some rocks was a tattered courier bag with the addresses of both the sender and the recipient still clearly marked.

Determined to reunite it with its owner the Transport Agency team set about doing some detective work to track her down and deliver it to her in person.

“Out of the blue I got a phone call from the police in Tauranga to say the Transport Agency had found my brooch and they wanted to get in touch to return it to me.”

“I just about fell off the end of the phone, and I ran around saying to my family, you’ll never guess where the darn brooch is, it’s been out on the road all this time.”

The road crew says the package was really light and there was a small hole in the courier bag that must have caught the wind and blown it around like a balloon before getting trapped in the rocks.

“When the two road workers walked up the street it was quite a sight, these two big guys with their hi-vis vests carrying my little parcel and I thought, oh my gosh it’s coming home, I’m just so grateful they made such an effort to return it to me.”

“And I promise I’ll try and stop dropping my junk along the road when I move from now on.”