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Opening Te Kūiti’s Time Capsule – A Journey Through Time

2 May 2024, 1:50 PM

 

A lasting legacy for future generations

In 1994, with a sense of anticipation and community spirit, the residents of Te Kūiti came together to create a time capsule—a vessel of history, memories, and aspirations, buried inside the foot of the town’s newly-erected Shearing Statue.

Standing at six metres tall as a proud symbol of the region’s rich heritage in sheep farming and shearing, the Shearing Statue was unveiled in March 1994, and quickly became an iconic landmark to cement Te Kūiti as the Shearing Capital of the World.

The ambitious project was built in stages from polystyrene and plaster, and then encased in glass-reinforced cement. It was during construction that sculptor Denis Hall thought it would be a great idea to enclose time capsules within the statue, to be opened in the future.

Running with the idea, the Shearing Capital Promotions Group set about their plans to ensure
Te Kūiti would always remember the day the town unveiled its giant landmark.

Local dignitaries, families, schools, and the general public were invited to contribute to one of three time capsules, “to give the community the chance to put something away for future Te Kūiti residents to read in years to come”.

Plans of the statue, photographs of its unveiling and other memorabilia were also included.

In May 1994, the foot of the shearer was opened, and items were carefully placed inside capsules crafted from eight-inch watermain pipes, sealed securely at both ends. Once the capsules were enclosed, the foot was sealed once again, creating a secure space to preserve the contents within until reopened.

The first time capsule is scheduled to be opened in 2024, with the others in 2054 and 2084.

A special ceremony marked the loading of the time capsules. Among the attendees was 102-year-old Dame Rangimarie Hetet, a renowned weaver whose presence added a touch of magic to the occasion. The Dame was given the task of closing the giant statue and sealing the time capsules for the next 30 years.

A kahikatea tree was also planted nearby to mark the occasion.

 

The time has come

Fast-forward 30 years, the time has come to unearth the treasures hidden within the shearing statue.

Council staff have been busy preparing for the significant occasion and are excited to celebrate the opening of the first time capsule with the community.

The event will begin at 10am on Friday 24 May with a Karakia at the Shearing Statue at the southern end of Te Kūiti.

The first time capsule will be retrieved and guests will then be invited to the Les Munro Centre at 11am for the opening and presentation of the time capsule contents, and for contributors to share their memories.