Kiwiosities – Roddy

The Honourable Roddy, the largest nugget of gold discovered in New Zealand was as big as a man’s hand and weighed 99 ounces, 12 pennyweights, 12 grains.

It was christened the Honourable Roderick Nugget for the Honourable Roderick  McKenzie, who was Minister of Mines at the time. The gold was  recovered at Ross in South Westland in 1909, in an area that had been mined since 1865. Valued then at around  450 pounds, the Honourable Roddy was displayed in many New Zealand towns, and it was offered as a raffle prize at five shillings a ticket, the money to benefit Totara Hospital at Ross.

The New Zealand Government then bought the Honourable Roddy from the winner and gave it to King George V as a coronation gift in 1911. When an enquiry was made of its fate in the 1950s, Buckingham Palace confessed that the Honourable Roddy was no more –  it was melted down to make a golden tea service.

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Gordon Ell, a former journalist and wildlife film-maker, is the author of many popular books about New Zealand's historic and natural heritage.