In this file photo, released by manipula.co.nz, author Ray Waru inspects files at New Zealand’s national archives, in Wellington, on December 7, 2012, following the release of his new book about rare historical gems buried in the archives, including a bizarre WWII plan to create a “tsunami bomb” and military X-Files detailing supposed UFO sightings.
A new book has revealed rare historical gems buried in New Zealand’s national archives, including a bizarre WWII plan to create a “tsunami bomb” and military files detailing supposed UFO sightings.
Author Ray Waru said he wrote “Secrets and Treasures” to highlight the material publicly available at Archives New Zealand in Wellington — where almost 100 kilometres (62 miles) of shelf space is crammed with historical artefacts.
Alongside notable historical documents, such as a letter written by explorer captain James Cook before his final voyage, are curiosities like “Project Seal”, a top-secret US-New Zealand attempt to create a doomsday device to rival the nuclear bomb.
The project was launched in June 1944 after a US naval officer noticed that blasting operations to clear coral reefs around Pacific islands sometimes produced a large wave, raising the possibility of creating a “tsunami bomb”.
Explosive tests carried out in waters north of Auckland led scientists to conclude that the weapon was feasible and a series of 10 massive blasts offshore could create a 10-metre (33-foot) tsunami capable of inundating a small coastal city.