News | 5 July 2024
Share on social

Quirky queries found in the City Archives

Are you being served? We help hundreds of residents daily with all kinds of questions, but sometimes there are those questions that really stick in your mind…

Archives image of a telephone operator.
Wellington City Council Archives, 00158-2623-b.

The team at Wellington City Archives have dug out some of the most curious queries we’ve received in the past 60 years. Was one of them you?

  • Someone asked if permission was necessary to stage a marathon hand shaking contest.
  • “Is there a bylaw against jungle music being played through a loud speaker on Lambton Quay?”
  • A boy from Japan had heard we had beautiful butterflies in New Zealand and asked if he could be sent one in exchange for a Japanese doll. We did indeed send the butterfly and received a doll in return!
  • “Can you arrange for someone to meet my wife from a plane?”
Black and white photo of planes parked on ground at Rongotai airport.
Wellington City Council Archives, 00138-8675.
  • Someone asked if men could be banned from the west side of Lyall Bay Beach during certain hours to not offend women and children. 
  • “Can you tell me of a registered Siamese cat dealer in Wellington?”
  • A lady wanted to be woken by a phone call at 5.30am one morning so that she could get up and catch a train.
  • “Where can I leave a baby for the night?”
  • There was a request for a goatherd to milk someone’s goats…
Goat in a yard.
Wellington City Council Archives, 00158-4014-f.
  • “Do you know of a fortune teller in Wellington?”
  • A women wanted to know if she could make her own coffin and be buried in it.
  • A boy from Kaiapoi asked for some quick sand – “about a little jar full.”
  • A lady rang to say she thought she had seen a Koala Bear in front of her garden at night – it was too big and sat upright and couldn’t have been an opossum! 
Black and white photo of people sunbathing on Oriental Bay beach.
Wellington City Council, 00155-152.
  • “What is the groaning noise at the end of Lambton Quay?”
  • An American woman wanted us to send her a recipe for fish and chips (NZ style) as her husband had never forgotten the wonderful fish and chips he had in Wellington.
  • There was a request to get new dentures made in a hurry… 
  • A lady called to see if we knew of a middle-aged male who would partner her to a ball.
  • An elderly man wanted a female partner to act as a hostess with him at a private dinner party.
  • “Is there a tripe and onions club?”
  • A boy in Lower Hutt wanted to know where he could buy a mule as he intended to take a trip around the South Island on one.
Water fountain in the middle of oriental bay.
Wellington City Council Archives, BN001-1951.
  • An enquiry about the Carter Fountain in Oriental Bay. Someone told them that they need to put 20 cents in to make it play.
  • “Is there a private zoo in Wellington that sells tortoises?”
  • A large long parcel was brought into the office by someone who had seen it fall from a passing truck. Turns out it was an artificial leg.

These are just some of our favourites, but if you want to read more, head to the Archives Online