Odd things left in red-zoned houses

GEORGINA STYLIANOU
Last updated 05:00 30/12/2013
red zone marijuana plants
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LOST PROPERTY: Marijuana plants found at a red-zoned property in Southshore. Several odd items, including samurai swords and a Harry Potter broomstick, have been recovered.

Harry Potter Broomstick
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LOST BROOMSTICK: A Harry Potter-inspired witch's broomstick is one of the odd items found in the residential red zone in Kaiapoi.
samurai swords
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NINJA WEAPONS: Samurai swords found at a red-zoned properties in Southshore.

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Christchurch Earthquake 2011

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What do marijuana plants, prosthetic limbs and a Harry Potter-inspired broomstick have in common? They were all found in red-zoned homes by earthquake officials.

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) has provided The Press with photographs of the more unusual items discovered at red-zoned homes.

Cera staff visit each property once it has been sold to the Crown to check for hazards and record its condition, Cera's relocations, cordons and security manager Brenden Winder said.

"While the majority of houses are empty and cleared by the previous owners, many have items left behind - often rubbish, but sometimes items that are not quite run-of-the-mill."

Avonside featured highly on the list of where bizarre items were found.

An organ, canoe, car, wooden plane, plastic limbs and sexual organ moulds were all found in vacant Avonside properties.

Southshore boasted a collection of Samurai swords and marijuana plants while Burwood offered a perfectly good caravan.

Kaiapoi took the cake for the most imaginative item: A homemade witch's broomstick - complete with a soft seat and bicycle handlebars.

Post office bonus bonds stamped in Greymouth in 1983 were also found in Kaiapoi.

Winder said all property left behind fell into the hands of the Crown but, in some situations, Cera made "further approaches through the previous owners' lawyers" to ask if certain items could be returned.

"In instances where illegal materials are found, such as marijuana, the police are notified and the materials handed over to assist with any investigation," he said.

Once demolition begins all items owned by the Crown become subject to the demolition company's own processes, Winder said, meaning some items would be salvaged and sold.

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