New Zealand woman reunited with lost heirloom brooch

  • Published
Picture of New Zealand woman Julie DenhamImage source, Julie Denham
Image caption,
Ms Denham said she gave the workers a jar of marmalade to thank them

A New Zealand woman has told of how she was reunited with a century-old heirloom brooch after a chance discovery by motorway.

Julie Denham, 53, had lost a bag with her grandmother's rose gold brooch while moving house eight months ago.

She thought it was gone for good, but it was recently found wedged between rocks by maintenance workers.

New Zealand police and transport officials managed to track down Ms Denham and return it to her.

Ms Denham has since promised to "stop dropping my junk along the road".

Family heirloom

The nine-carat rose gold brooch belonged to Ms Denham's English grandmother Mary, who was born in 1900 in Swindon and moved to New Zealand as a child.

Image source, Julie Denham
Image caption,
The brooch was in a bag along with other family jewellery

It was one of her few remaining family heirlooms, as Ms Denham lost most of them in a house fire several years ago.

The brooch, in a bag with other items, was lost when Ms Denham moved from Snells Beach to Orewa, north of Auckland.

Ms Denham told the BBC that when she discovered her loss "I felt absolutely sick to my stomach. I had wanted to pass it on to my daughter and my granddaughter".

"It just floored me and I cried," she said.

But maintenance workers who were picking rubbish by the motorway found the bag, between rocks on a slope.

It had Ms Denham's name and previous address written on it so they got in touch.

"I just fell off the phone, I went round telling my family, 'It's coming home, it's coming home!'," said Ms Denham.

"So these two fellows, big burly chaps wearing hi-vis vests, came to my door looking very pleased with themselves, carrying this little parcel of mine. I gave them a jar of marmalade that my mum made, and a little teddy bear with a note.

I told them any time they're passing by they can come in for a cup of tea. And that I promise to stop dropping my junk along the road!"