A little bag with the name "Grace Fellows" written on the inside sat on a pile of seaweed on the shore at Matakana Island. It was proof for her parents that their container had been lost.
The Fellows family had been holding out hope that the container they put on Rena when they left Australia to live in Tauranga had been plucked from the ship before it split.
The Bay of Plenty Times broke the news to the family on Tuesday that their daughter Grace's pink and purple bag had been spotted by a reporter on the beach.
"We were still hanging onto a little ray of hope," said Craig Fellows.
When asked how he would tell his family Mr Fellows said: "I really don't know".
He said the family had also been trying to be realistic about the chances of seeing their treasures again. "But the confirmation it is gone is still pretty hard."
He was unsure what the next step for the family would be.
Mr Fellows would have liked to make his way over to Matakana Island to see what else had washed up but feared getting in trouble for poking through other people's property.
"And there may be things we don't want to see," he said.
"The videos, the photos, the mementoes we collected through our travels, the things the kids have made us at day care. They are things no one else would understand because it may just be a piece of clay."
However, the confirmation meant he could now get on to his insurance company.