Kids make rare Kauri resin discovery at secret spot in Coromandel

From Checkpoint, 5:53 pm on 15 November 2023

Two children have discovered a chunk of kauri resin potentially worth thousands of dollars at a secret spot on a Coromandel beach.

In the past the fossilised resin, a by-product from kauri trees, has been used for chewing gum and medicines but is now mainly decorative when polished. 

Previously, a 10kg lump of the gum sold for $16,000.

Callan McMillan, nine, told Checkpoint he and his sister Eva, seven, were wandering along a remote part of the coastline with their parents when they spotted what they thought was a rock.

On closer inspection, Callan - a keen beachcomber - realised it was kauri gum. 

James McMillan - Callan's father - said it was not the family's first such find - they often turned up after heavy rain.

"We seem to find of kauri gum on the coastline so the kids got their eye in for collecting little bits, but they've never found one this big before."

The lump of kauri resin found by 9 year old Callan and seven year old Eva McMillan while wandering the shore in Coromandel.

The piece of kauri resin weighs just over 2kg. Photo: Supplied

Callan said the chunk was "bigger than his head" and weighed just over 2kg. The location is a "big, big secret", he said.

The large discovery was potentially worth a fair amount, his father said. 

"If we can find the right buyer, it might be worth up to a dollar a gram. People might like to make jewellery out of it."

So what would the children buy with the proceeds of their bounty?

Callan: "I would buy an ant colony... but I might like to keep it for a bit, polish it then sell it."

Eva says sell: "I want a golden retriever."

"They'll have to work on sharing," said James.