Story: Beachcombing

False alarm

False alarm

You can read too many war comics as a child – as Maurice Lye found out when he explored at Kaitorete Spit, south of Christchurch.

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Contributed by Maurice Lye of Christchurch.

One day in 1998 or 1999 I was strolling down the beach at Kaitorete Spit, about 50 kilometres south-east of Christchurch, when I spotted something protruding from the damp sand near the low-tide line in the distance. It didn't appear to be the usual driftwood, dead creature or rubbish heaved overboard from a fishing boat.

Curious, I went towards it. However, as I got closer my interest turned to grave concern. Protruding from the sand was about 30 centimetres of black tube, with a rudder and brass propeller on the end. ‘It's a torpedo,’ I thought, and not wanting to obliterate myself and half the beach, I beat a hasty retreat.

About an hour later I arrived home and told the family what I had discovered. Our son, who was about eight at the time, was highly excited. So I took him in to the Christchurch central police station with me to report the find.

We were led through the building to a room that housed maps galore. I explained to them where the object was, and they said they would get onto it straight away. The next day I got a call from the Leeston police asking for the ‘torpedo man’. They had sent an officer out, but he needed a few more directions. Eventually my find was safely recovered. I got another phone call from the police a few days later to tell me that it was actually a device used by fishermen to take nets down deeper. I was a bit disappointed. We eventually got to keep it. It’s in the garage, harming nothing.

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How to cite this page:

Carl Walrond, 'Beachcombing - Pieces of history', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/community-contribution/7205/false-alarm (accessed 25 January 2022)

Story by Carl Walrond, published 12 Jun 2006