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SocietyMay 10, 2018

Phones, trombones, placentas: the weird world of NZ transport lost property

lost and found feature

Commute week: You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, unless perhaps it’s a human placenta or a cello. We present the most bizarre items left behind on public transport.

Amid the seething mass of humanity who drag themselves from light-polluted sleep to the various cars, coaches and carriages which deliver us to work each day, there are many opportunities to both literally and figuratively lose your shit.

We’ve all experienced the horror of watching the train leave the station, or the bus leave the stop, your cellphone firmly onboard. The adrenaline, the fear, the raw panic of somebody else reading your texts.

But phones aren’t the only things being left behind. Everything from musical instruments to human remains, scattered to the winds with nary a chance of retrieval.

After protracted back-and-forths with the communication departments running the various transport networks around Auckland, we present some of the strangest items left behind.


Just this year, on separate bus services, patrons lost a prosthetic limb, a beautiful full size cello, and a wallet containing $5,000 cash.

A cello one can go without, and I could just about understand losing your prosthetic leg, but five grand? According to an indifferent spokesperson at NZ Bus, there was “probably some other stuff too, but mostly we just get clothes and umbrellas”.

I can now see why my requests for information had to be signed off by the NZ Bus communications team.

None of these of course are as delightful as the Rangiora bus upon which a gorgeous young hound was found this January. While some “concerned citizens” (haters) shooed Nismo from the coach, mayor David Ayers planted himself firmly on the right side of history, saying he was impressed by the dog’s independence.

“He’s operating under his own initiative, so good on him.”

Too right Dave, and bloody good on you too, mate.


Trains are for many people in this country on a par with space travel – futuristic devices available only to the lucky few. But those who ride the trains are just like you or I: forgetful, distracted, incredibly stressed by the inevitability of death. They too leave their clothes, wallets, and occasionally children behind.

Think of how it feels when you forget your phone. Like you’ve lost something precious, something personal, something dear to you. Like you’ve lost a piece of yourself. Compare that to losing literally a piece of yourself, like the woman who left a placenta on an Auckland train.

The placenta was found inside an ice-cream container, likely destined for a distant freezer, before eventual internment beneath a tree.

“After a short search the placenta was reunited with its owner,” a Transdev spokesperson confirmed.

Speaking of other things you put in your mouth, all manner of instruments have appeared on the train this year including trumpets, trombones, harmonicas, and even a  few ukuleles with which Transdev staff were serenaded upon their return.

“It was lovely,” a spokesperson said after clearing their statement with comms.

STOP leaving your shit in Ubers.


As you might expect, it’s not just the contents of their stomach or what remains of their dignity that people lose in an Uber.

I lost some headphones in an Uber once and damnit if they never came back. I cut my losses, though I do sometimes imagine a nameless driver out there, my earbuds in his ears, my bacteria mingling with his, all of them enjoying music through $15 trash buds from JBHIFI. Other people in New Zealand have lost substantially more.

According to the Uber Top 20 list, released earlier this month, some of the more bizarre finds include things like: lightsabers, gold chains, concert tickets, rugby tickets, drones, medical certificates, jewellery and, most tragically of all, “a box of Billy Maverick 7% bourbons”, which one would assume had yet to be actually consumed. Otherwise that’s a lot of vomit.


Read more of Commute Week here 

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