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348 Illicit NZ Detecting hobbyists?

The article is a little old ( but I have just seen it. Paydirt is named in it (not sure if I was a member then so add one person) and the estimate they came up with, based only on tampering with the NZ definition of archaeological sites was 348 Illicit hobbyists. I think the number is over simplified and I fail to see how it was arrived at. The math seems wrong, doesn’t count DOC trespassers, trespassers extant, illicit gold detecting, dicey and seriously questionable ventures into former defence areas or detecting with a side serve of bottle hounding. But how to get an accurate estimate?

I think their calculations will be off as there was a lot of spam accounts on the old forum.

Ahh, this one doesn’t seem to be without that either (sic and that’s the net) but yep, off numbers.

Bloody hell…what would you call a ‘cultural object’ in New Zealand? Some people need to get a life. Don’t they have better things to do with their time? I don’t mean the detectorists but the clowns trying to work all this shit out on the detectorists. God help us… :roll_eyes:

JW :cowboy_hat_face:


I think that the Protected Objects Act definition of ‘Social History Objects’ (mostly parts 1 and 9 in schedule 4) is the definition that concerns a detecting hobbyist in so far as the point where you want to tell someone you found it, I always check if I think so (When I dug that site over lockdown I found a bottle and it’s in my post feed, that they are still trying to work out the origin and connection of and the site was post 1900 (not every one will like it but after that, even I have to say that there exists some fair argument for raising the 1900 date of an archaeological site)). If you want to go for a social science definition of cultural object, which is what he did in that article to compensate for the different starting points in the laws of different countries (overly ambitious research project perhaps if it is so general you need to compensate) I’ll refer to Google or Bing. Some feedback is legit and fair when appropriately individualized, but I can’t say much for how they went about that article for NZ, it does feed a stereotype when the numbers are odd.

‘Social science’ isn’t scientific, and that paper is a perfect case in point

They can still do statistics, something else not applied there.

Oh so is 100 years ago ‘history’ - well fuck me in a few more years I will be history because I can nearly remember back that far! If the DoC white collar Gestapo employees want history then they should go to the UK, Greece, Europe, Bible Lands and so on.


It’s merely the study of past events. So anything from this morning back potentially qualifies. I don’t think you really recall ten years past 1900. I don’t think we’ll call you an historic object. It’s more the (in reality) blurry line of the Heritage Act stopping dead at 1900, add that to poor record keeping (more Brits than NZ) and we’re smoked sometimes.

Particularly ship related anything with ties to Britain or Scotland I’ve come to know. That’ll be two untraceable. I can doubt one and pass it off as poor Brit/Scot records but my numbers are getting up there if that second one can’t be found.

Ok so the whole thing stinks - there are gray areas. Definite no nos predating 1900 and definitely ‘modern’, that is this side of 1900 and then the gray area. The gray area can be a site the age of which cannot be determined or a site which was used up until say 1930 to discard rubbish but in truth was first used in 1840. A slick lawyer could argue successfully either way.

What about an 1870s dump/site that’s being eroded by the sea or a river? If you salvage items from there before they are gone forever then where do you stand. If you merely pick up something that has already fallen out of the bank and it’s about to get washed away then where do you stand? If you see goodies protruding from the bank and about to get washed out then presumably you are technically excavating by removing it.

My personal belief is fuck the text book Gestapo like trolls who given a bit of authority let it go to their heads as they are actually enforcing unfair rules and not only assisting to erode your rights but their own as well.

Take ship wrecks - you cant touch one older that 100 years or is it 1900 but the next storm could wipe it off the face of the Earth and in any case shifting sands, currents etc degrade it daily and yet if you remove even a long rusted bolt then you are in strife. A bit obscene really. At the same time if the vessel is truly historic then it should be properly excavated by marine archaeologists.

Personally l am a true blue Kiwi and no sniveling arsewipe is going to tell me that l cant keep that 1860s artifact that l have just found after all if l leave it there then when you walk by you will grab it. Nor am l going to rush off and grab the authorities because they will keep it. I know of quite a few small artifacts brought back privately from the restoration of a very historic site by a DoC employee so in my opinion regardless of its age you salvage it because that prevents it being lost for ever and it also protects it.As for leaving it and declaring it with the resulting mapping of the site and where ever shard of glass and piece of rust lies what is the point?


Personal opinion. I think that in New Zealand any responsible detectorist who finds a site with obvious significance, like a treasure hoard or an unexpected abundance of interesting pre 1920 artefacts is going to attempt to report it to the appropriate authority.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

So where does that put my farmer son with pre1900s horseshoes and other bits of pre 1900s steel rubbish,that would have stuffed up the blades on his new non pre modern cultivator (worth a few thousand bucks) that turned the paddock for new grass seed to row grass to feed the herd to produce milk so the DOC worker can have a coffee in the morning,try and tell him to keep that preshit in the ground I DARE YOU,(PS let me know when so I can call the ambo first,if im in a good mood) ARSE !!!


Like hell…Finders keepers.

JW :cowboy_hat_face:

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Lammerlaw put it best when he made the observation about the clay pipe I found, in fact there were a couple of pointer finds on that property, but back to what he said, one article doesn’t age an area. And if it was unmistakable and your son called it in for assessment the good news is that the archaeologists are bound to leave your land in a way you’re happy with it. For that post 1900 site I dug I landscaped the entire lawn and that’s what I negotiated, rather thought it worth it.

Myself ive allways found the main complaints about " digging holes"comes from middle aged women. Like your killing worms or your spoilng the grass when there dogs are scratching at the turf or leaving piles for you to tread on while they are lecturing you.

I imagine they complain until you find the sterling bracelet they dropped. I haven’t encountered so much of those ones (more of a beach goer) but if you are detecting on a soccer turf that’s when they have a point. I do recall one ranger, I think I mentioned it, suggesting I can go ahead but do not be like the last guy and please fill my holes. Frankly, I even make an effort to refill at the beach, those dogs and kids don’t and I have seen some hobbyists leave gaping holes at a beach where it just isn’t difficult to kick it back in.

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It goes without saying to back fill your holes. But I know there are people that don’t do it & therein lies the problem. The minority ruin it for the majority. Like most things. :roll_eyes:

JW :cowboy_hat_face:

detectorists are simply hobbyist archaeologists, and they occasionally find a piece of gold. :slight_smile:

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