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Matt Howse, 10, has been using his new metal detector to reunite people with their belongings lost in the sand. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Young metal detectorist unearths treasures

A young man and his metal detector have been reuniting people with their lost belongings.
Matt Howse, 10, has been taking his new device to nearby beaches, surveying the sand and finding jewellery, coins, and relics of yesteryear beneath it.
The Karangahake School student first got into metal detecting after a trip to the South Island two years ago, his dad Tony told The Profile.
“He bought [a metal detector] when we went gold mining down the South Island, but it was more for gold, so it wasn’t until Matt did some busking in Thames and made enough money to buy this new metal detector – which is really good for finding coins and jewellery, along the beach, especially.”
To earn enough for his metal detector, Matt learned to play two songs on the guitar and stood outside Goldfields Shopping Centre for an hour.
From that, he earned just over $386.

He has since been traversing the beaches of Whangamata and has had great success in reuniting people with their lost items.
“He found a lady’s watch, and her mum had given it to her years ago. She went to the beach the night before and she had a swim and lost it there,” Tony said. “She put a post up [on social media] and someone tagged me, and I said, ‘We’ll meet you there at 1 o’clock and you can show us where it is’.
“We got there a bit earlier, so Matt jumped off the sandbank, turned his machine on, and within 20 seconds, he’d found it,” he said. “She was just over the moon.”
Tony said there was quite a large contingency of metal detectorists throughout New Zealand, and while “every 10 or 20 steps” you may be able to find a coin of some kind, Matt has spent half an hour along a certain stretch and has only found a few pieces of tinfoil.
“It depends on how many people have been there before you,” Tony said.
The Karangahake pair take all the rubbish they’ve unearthed away with them, and “there’s a rule that you always fill your holes in”.
Tony said Matt was “really thorough” and had learned all the different beeps the metal detector makes. He will continue metal detecting throughout winter, and the father and son will keep their eyes fixed to the ground, in hopes to find an elusive gold nugget.
“As soon as there is a storm on the beach, everything changes, and things from yesteryear can be anywhere,” Tony said. “Even if someone has been through [the sand] one week, three or four weeks later, it’s a different beach.”