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Every digger a winner

They scooped, they scraped, they raked with bare hands the sandpit running track next to Churchill Park in search of “pieces of eight”. But by the end of the day every coin-finder was a winner.

Hosted by Gisborne Wainui Lions and More FM, the annual Pirate Treasure Beach Dig attracted about 1600 treasure hunters who traded their silver coins for vouchers that came with discounts at various stores, and a number.

At the prizegiving randomly selected numbers were called out. Each winner chose a box off a rack and the letter on the box was matched to a prize.

“I love it when people win something,” said young treasure hunter Milah Blaker-Kirkpatrick as she watched prizewinners collect such wins as a trampoline, barbecue, carpet, and LCD TV.

Then Milah won a Milazo Rock 24 bike.

The ultimate prize, announced at the end of the day, was a helicopter ride over the bay and back to the airport. The flight was won by Karizma Matenga, her son and two nephews.

“That’s awesome,” said Karizma.

“We’ve been talking about it all day. We were sitting there and our numbers weren’t getting called out so we were thinking it’s not going to be us.”

Wainui Lions social media manager and publicity director Ian Stewart was pleased with the day.

“We’ve done well given there are several different events on,” he said.

Those events included the Darton Field Wings and Wheels show, a Surf City Rod and Custom Club Show and Shine, the Harvest Transport Poverty Bay Polo Open at the Bushmere grounds and the Wairoa A&P Show.

More volunteers than club members provided their services for the event, said Mr Stewart. Planning for the beach dig starts in February. It takes a year to plan and for local businesses to generously donate prizes. Money raised by the event goes back into the community.



DIG THIS: Sporting the skull and crossbones emblem Samantha Gardner (left), Bentley Chapman and Jazmin Gardner plough the sand for coins. Pictures by Liam Clayton
Getting into character for the event were Braxton Ngaronoa (left), who came second in the best-dressed age group, and Acacia Ngaronoa who came third in the best-dressed age group.
Jens Sandgaard is rapt to find several ‘pieces of eight’ at the annual Pirate Treasure Beach Dig hosted by Wainui Lions and More FM. The coins put finders in the running for top prizes donated by Gisborne businesses.
Annabelle Douglas’s poirate hat helped keep her sun-safe and the eye patch was clearly no handicap in finding buried treasure.