Antique weapons fished from canal

18:00, Feb 12 2013
antique guns
WATERLOGGED HAUL: A collection of weapons found in the Tekapo Canal.

The draining of the Tekapo Canal uncovered a mystery that has apparently been concealed beneath its waters for many years.

Workers at the canal discovered a cache of decaying weapons at Irishman Creek Bridge along State Highway 8 and handed them in to Tekapo police on Monday.

They're not just any weapons. The find includes several guns and swords, or sabres, and they appear to be antiques.

brent swanson
STASH: Tekapo Senior Constable Brent Swanson examines antique guns and swords found in the Tekapo Canal.

The most likely reason for their being in that spot was that they were stolen from a collector and later dumped off the bridge, Senior Constable Brent Swanson said.

"The canals have only been there since the 1970s," he said. "It's not as though they've been left there from a war."

The items include a flintlock pistol, a wooden stock from a rifle or shotgun, a mostly-intact shotgun, a cavalry-style sabre with a scabbard and two other swords that would look right at home in a Pirates of the Caribbean movie.


All appear to have been in the canal for some time and are in very poor condition, eaten by rust and, in some cases, disintegrating at a touch.

The Tekapo Canal was drained for repairs that will be completed over the next two to three summers. Genesis Energy is placing coffer dams in sections of the canal, draining the water and lining the surface before refilling.

Workers also found a flare pistol that seems to be newer that the other pieces and is in better condition. It was made by Webley & Scott Ltd of London and Birmingham and is engraved with several symbols and the letters "NZ".

The Webley & Scott company produced a number of flare guns used by Commonwealth Military Forces during the First and Second World Wars.

Police will store the found items for several weeks to allow time for their rightful owner to come forward, Mr Swanson said.

Anyone with information can contact Tekapo police on (03) 680 6855.

The Timaru Herald