Voice from history exposed by quake

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The fallen statue of Christchurch's founder, Irishman John Robert Godley (AP)

The New Zealand earthquake has exposed potentially historic documents hidden inside a 19th century statue that fell over in the disaster.

Christchurch Major Bob Parker said a handwritten parchment in a bottle and a sealed copper cylinder believed to contain documents were discovered inside the statue of the city’s founder, Irishman John Robert Godley.

The statue is in the city’s main square near its historic cathedral. It fell during the earthquake on February 22 that killed at least 155 people.

Museum experts were examining the items, which appeared to contain a message from the city’s founders expressing their vision for it.

Mr Parker said,: “It seems almost providential that they have come to light now to provide the inspiration we need in this most difficult time.”

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