In the South
A man who bought a World War I medal as an 8-year-old boy more than three decades ago, has finally tracked down the soldier it belonged to - on Balclutha's war memorial.
Miles Clifford, from Nelson, bought the medal at a second-hand shop in Wellington after finding $10 on the banks of the Hutt river.
He then spent many Anzac Days thinking about returning the medal to its owner's descendants, especially in the past few years.
''I thought let's make this happen, stop dilly-dallying.''
An article about the medal, which is engraved with the name Private Guest, was published in the Nelson Mail in 2009.
As a result, a member of the public told Mr Clifford the Guest family came from Balclutha.
Then, by coincidence, Mr Clifford started visiting the district as part of his job.
The rest is history.
He found Stanley Thomas Guest's name on the town's war memorial and curator Gary Ross at the South Otago Museum.
Mr Ross had just finished a study of the names on the memorial.
''Basically the timing was quite phenomenal,'' he said.
Mr Ross had also tracked down some of Private Guest's descendants.
Earlier this week in Wellington, Mr Clifford made contact with the soldier's's great-nephew, Bill Guest, in Wellington, who he was thrilled about the medal.
''He's hung on to it for 33 years, it's just wonderful.''
Mr Guest's great-uncle was in the Otago Infantry Regiment and was killed during the Battle of the Somme in 1916.
His family has long ties to the Clutha district, arriving from Devon in 1825.
How the medal ended up in a Wellington second shop is a mystery, Mr Guest said.
Now, Mr Guest is waiting to hear if he will visit Nelson for work next.
While he wants to hold the medal and share it with his family, he is adamant it belongs to Mr Clifford.
But, there is a chance the medal might still end up in Balclutha, the idea of loaning it permanently to the South Otago Museum had been floated, Mr Guest said.
- © Fairfax NZ News