News | 22 September 2023
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Capsule uncovered ahead of time

A time capsule buried on Victoria Street in 1994 has been dug up and removed from the Te Matapihi Central Library site for safe keeping until it can be returned – unopened – to the same spot for the next 70 years.

Time capsule being removed from buried area at front entrance of site of Central Library Te Matapihi.
LT McGuinness workers remove time capsule

The time capsule was buried on Friday 22 April 1994 to mark the end of the Wellington City Council’s year-long centenary celebrations.

According to reports at the time from local paper City Voice , it contains letters from local school students written to a child in the future.

It also includes coins and notes of the currency of the day, phone cards, information about the library, the day’s newspapers and photos of the children involved.

Time capsule uncovered and removed from buried area at front entrance of site of Central Library Te Matapihi.
Time capsule and plaque removed from site

Council’s Manager Libraries & Community Spaces Laurinda Thomas says the recently uncovered time capsule has got her team reminiscing.
“It’s funny to think that just 30 years on some of these items are almost obsolete and considered relics by the younger generation. I wonder what a child in 2093 will think of these things? 

“But that’s the beauty of discovering a time capsule, it’s a snapshot of another era giving future generations a glimpse into their day-to-day life in another time and place.”

Time capsule plaque to mark site at front entrance of Central Library Te Matapihi.
Plaque used to mark the spot of time capsule

Documents and news clippings from the time show there was a ceremony in Civic Square to mark the end of the centenary festivities, which included a parade and burial of the time capsule, and the then Mayor Fran Wilde arrived at the event in a De Lorean car borrowed from Southwards Car Museum in a nod to the 1985 film Back to the Future.

A stainless steel double walled food container measuring 25 X 50 cm was used as the time capsule, which was cemented under the then pavement with a plaque to mark the site.

The time capsule has been removed from the site while construction of Te Matapihi Central Library continues, and will be kept in a safe place until it can be returned – unopened – to the same place to hopefully be rediscovered 70 years from now.