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Police were called on Wednesday after someone spotted the brown cardboard box, bound with white insulation tape, floating label-down with wires and cables protruding, police posted on social media.
It also had a large electronic box on the side.
Once retrieved, it was discovered it was a Niwa atmospheric device.
Such devices provide scientific measurements for Niwa and are regularly launched from a Central Otago site.
They can travel up to 30km into the atmosphere, before their life balloons pop and they return to Earth on a parachute.