The high price of gold could launch a new hunt for $2 million of the precious metal sunk of Whangarei's coast 66 years ago.
The gold was among 590 gold bars on board the Royal Merchant Ship Niagara that was sunk by two German mines just off the Hen and Chicken islands on June 19, 1940.
Most of the gold bars have been recovered - 555 in a 1941 salvage operation and 30 in 1952.
But five of the bars are still believed to be on board the wreck or the seabed nearby in about 120 metres of water.
Keith Gordon, of Tutukaka-based SeaRov Technologies, holds the rights to salvage the missing gold on behalf of Her Majesty's Treasury.
He said the recent rise in the price of gold has rekindled his interest in finding the missing treasure.
"About six months ago the missing gold was worth about NZ$1.4 million. At today's price of about US$620 an ounce it is worth about NZ$2 million," Mr Gordon said.
"There's over 2000 ounces of gold still down there and that's a heck of a lot of money to have lying on the bottom of the ocean. It's worth having another serious look for it now and I will be talking to Her Majesty's Treasury about it."
However, the gold is at a depth that only the most experienced divers can get to and Mr Gordon will use his underwater remote operated vehicles (ROVs) to search the wreck and the ocean floor for the missing treasure. "With (ROV) technology advancing, it's getting more viable to look for it again," he said.
Interestingly, today is the 66th anniversary of the Niagara sinking and Mr Gordon's recent book on the wreck, Deep Water Gold, has been well received.
Mr Gordon is an authority on the Niagara, having dived on the wreck and watched it numerous times through the video monitor on one of his ROVs that regularly descend the 120m of ocean to the Niagara's resting place.
He also holds the salvage rights to the wreck, although the UK Treasury still owns the gold.
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