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Clues to the past found in wall

By Chelsea Boyle

[email protected]

Masterton resident Myra Coley was renovating her family’s Cockburn St home when she unearthed a message from the past hidden in the walls.

Neatly tucked away in a secret alcove was a copy of a Times-Age newspaper from 1979 signed by five people – Alan Muir, Michael James Stokes, James McCarthy Stokes and Noeline Isabel Stokes.

The newspaper, dated September 14, also listed ages next to each name – 16, 18, 53, and 51 respectively.

Mrs Coley said she found the newspaper in “a little alcove, like a little shelf” when they started to remove some wooden panelling.

“It was just there behind the wall,” she said.

Initially she thought it might have been placed there to fill the wall, but upon noticing the names on the newspaper she realised it was much more interesting than first thought.

“Someone had left it there to be found maybe.”

She was keen to find out who the people are, in order to see what led them to leave the newspaper in the wall.

She said people had encouraged her to put a similar memento back in the wall.

However, the Coley family is currently taking that wall down so a similar time capsule would have to be stowed elsewhere in the house.

On the cards for the Coleys amid the ongoing renovation work is a new kitchen and dining room.

Mrs Coley said a lot of people in the community had been keen to show the newspaper to their parents, in case that could crack the case.

However, the family is still looking to find out more.

“It’s a part of our renovating adventure,” she said.


Anyone who knows the named people can contact the Times-Age on 06 370-9999, or by emailing [email protected].


The Stokes family wrote their names on the masthead of the newspaper. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
The Stokes family wrote their names on the masthead of the newspaper. PHOTO/SUPPLIED


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Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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