A forgotten old suitcase containing a treasure trove of personal history has been found in a Mt Maunganui home and now the hunt is on to find relatives of whoever owned it.
The suitcase, filled with family photographs and personal letters, was found last Friday by builders working in the attic of Caleb Fryatt's Tweed St home.
Mr Fryatt is hoping to find relatives of the person who owned the case and has appealed for them to get in touch.
He first found out about the suitcase on Monday when he received a phone call from Peter Gooding of Renovation Masters.
Mr Fryatt said he was amazed to find what it contained.
"The stuff in there is just incredible. It's a very interesting find," he said. "Once you start looking through it, you don't want to stop. It's pretty addictive."
Among the letters and photos are military buttons, death certificates and clippings from the Bay of Plenty Times dating back to 1939.
There is even an old shopping list containing items such as budgie seed and tobacco as well as documents featuring former prime minister Walter Nash who led New Zealand from 1957 until 1960.
Mr Fryatt said many of the letters in the suitcase were addressed to an Artie Gale and there was a memorial card for a Private Donald Stanley Ansin who was killed in action while fighting in Italy in 1944.
He believes the suitcase may have belonged to Mr Gale or Alma Ansin, who he thinks was Mr Gale's second wife.
Mr Fryatt has made about six phone calls trying to track down relatives of either of the two people and thinks he has found Mr Gale's great-great niece.
However, he would like to hear from anyone else who has information about Mr Gale or Ms Ansin.
"There are a lot of old pictures of Tauranga and the Mount. There are some of the main beach and there is nothing there, just sand dunes," he said.
Mr Fryatt said some of the pictures look like they date as far back as the 19th century and there are a number of other photos featuring images of old motor bikes.
"It's fascinating, I can't stop looking through it," said Mr Fryatt.
"Imagine if you were related to the people in the pictures."
* Mr Fryatt can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Bay of Plenty Times