A McFly on the wall visit to 2045 reveals some interesting journeys ahead in a quaint handwritten letter.

Quite unexpectedly I received this week a handwritten letter.

I know what you're thinking: a handwritten letter, what a quaint old-fashioned thing! But while this strange item was indeed of another age, it was not a relic of the past, but - it might help if you squint your eyes, wobble your head and sing the Doctor Who theme at this point - a message from the future.

That's right, reader: the future! This is what it said:

"Dear Toby, grab a seat because this is pretty freaky. I am writing to you from the year 2045. And when I say 'I', I mean 'you', because I have been spirited into the future. Believe me, I'm as surprised as I'm sure you are.


"Or we are, or whatever, doesn't matter. I'll keep this brief as I need to check out whether I'll be required to impersonate my own son to prevent him being thrown into prison, and I'm keen to write down as many sports results as I can.

"I arrived in 2045 after being invited by a public relations consultant to go for a spin in a replica DeLorean from the Back to the Future films. They had a few of them around to mark the date, October 21, 2015, that the fictional Marty McFly, played by Michael J Fox, travelled to from 1985.

"They did warn me not to fiddle with the flux capacitator, but you know what it's like when you're pulling a few doughnuts in the back streets of Henderson, you can't help but flick every available switch. Turns out it was still set for 30 years forward.

"Anyway I figured you'd be keen on a dispatch from 2045 - it's no easy job winning readers' respect, and given recent online comments exhorting you to perform anatomically implausible feats, well, even they will be impressed with actual news from the actual future, right?"

Hard to argue with that! After an extended self-indulgent moan about online commenters and inconsiderate drivers, future-me begins to describe the future-world as he encounters it:

"I arrive in 2045 New Zealand to see a dismal, feral cesspit, through which Homo sapiens roam rag-draped and howling. I have no interest in staying in Wellington's Courtenay Place, and I soon discover that most of the rest of the country, too, is very much as it was.

"There are differences, of course: the coastal baches have been swallowed by the sea, along with half of the islands in the South Pacific. But people still go to school, to work, and to some weird kiosk thing where they stick a cord in the back of their neck.

"Folks are dressed much the same way, although apparently that's a '10s' vintage thing. I am warned strongly against visiting the breakaway republic of South Island. 'Many never come back,' one chap riding a moa tells me.


"They have apparently become a violent, inward-looking people since declaring independence and adopting the Red Peak flag. Recent reports suggest they may be forming a rump alliance with Auckland's Berm Liberation Front.

"I wander into a bar on Featherston St. At one table bureaucrats are discussing office romances, Auckland house prices and the announcement of Sausage of the Year. In a corner, media types witter on about the good old days of the 2010s. On a screen, the Briscoes lady is advertising the Biggest Sale Ever.

"They have apparently become a violent, inward-looking people since declaring independence and adopting the Red Peak flag." Photo / Supplied

"Alongside the till a fax machine whirrs. I commend the retro-novelty, but get a puzzled look. Turns out these future-people no longer have the internet - they decided not to rebuild the 'fad' after the Great Erasure of 2019, and actually they much prefer faxes.

"I am shocked to discover what happened in the Cairns trial ..."

(For legal reasons I can't in 2015 reveal what future-me has to say about Cairns but OMG.)

"People remain obsessed with rugby, though the ActiFit Herbal De-Lite for Men All Blacks have slipped to second-tier status, with Georgia and India the most recent World Cup winners.

"Things haven't gone so well for Australia, who have been ostracised from all international sport since the mid-20s and a spate of aggressive acts around the world which culminated in US President Taylor Swift condemning them as a 'rogue state' and 'total h8rs'.

"I make my way towards Parliament, and get chatting to a couple of students picnicking on the lawn. They tell me that Max and Stephie Key are reportedly planning rival bids for the leader of the governing National First Party.

"Following the achievements of the likes of Justin Trudeau, Chelsea Clinton, Jeb Bush and Ziggy Putin, most nation states have accepted that heredity is a core principle of leadership in a representative democracy.

"On the other side of politics, the opposition iGreens strive to democratise their movement further, with each member of the party now co-leader for seven or eight minutes every day. Their aspirations to govern continue to be hampered by the Labour Party, which remains locked in debate about its position on the Trans Pacific Partnership treaty.

"People remain obsessed with rugby, though the All Blacks have slipped to second-tier status, with Georgia and India the most recent World Cup winners. Photo / Brett Phibbs

"I wander in to the parliamentary visitors' gallery. A grand portrait of President Yelich-O'Connor watches over us. Question Time is under way. I can make little out from the rabble, except to hear hollers of 'does the prime minister stand by all his statements', and 'nine long years of Labour government'.

"This is no way to spend a holiday in the future, so I exit the chamber. As I begin down the corridor, a door creaks open.

"An arm appears and beckons me closer. 'I've been expecting you, sunshine,' emerges the unmistakable voice of the long-serving prime minister, Winston Peters.

"I enter a dimly lit office, and take a seat. He locks me with his stare. 'It's about the 2015 World Cup final.' But what is that sound?"

And then, suddenly, the letter finishes. No "Kind regards", nothing like that. Was future-me somehow interrupted? Captured? Worse? Or just being really rude? Who can say.

In any case, must dash. I'm off for that DeLorean test drive.

Toby Manhire travelled to 2045 as a guest of the New Zealand Tourism Board 2045.