Wonderbox project 

NatureSpace's exciting school outreach programme.

Three schools in the South Island got the chance to design a mini exhibition using their own collection of taonga from the natural world.

Come and meet the students that were chosen to exhibit at Te Papa and read the stories behind their collection.

See the Wonderboxes on display in NatureSpace, level 2.

Jack Flynn

Amazing Duntroon

Jack Flynn, Year 5
Witherlea School, Blenheim, Marlborough

I chose sand rocks and rattling rocks because sand rocks are very old and rattling rocks are very rare. I found my sandstone in a cave in Duntroon, Oamaru, near where my Mum grew up, and the rattling rocks in a river nearby.

Rattling rocks are hollow rocks with a small stone inside. They are usually rusty-coloured, and have formed during the weathering of the rocks. Limestone formed in the shallow seas of 25 million years ago.  Fish, penguins, dolphins, and whales that were the local inhabitants, died and their remains came to rest in the sand and mud.

Can you find the fossils in the limestone rock?

Taylor Woodgate

My favourite place

Taylor Woodgate, Year 5
Witherlea School, Blenheim, Marlborough

I went to the beach and collected lots of treasures – shells, bones, pebbles, feathers, and much more.

I went to Rarangi, MonkeyBay, and WhitesBay to beachcomb and look for cool things.

I imagine I am an explorer on a great adventure, finding strange, new, and amazing things. I love to see and feel the different colours and shapes of the shells, rocks, wood, and pebbles. I like to investigate caves, tracks, and rock pools around my favourite place – the beach.

Can you see the spotted rock?

Georgina Demspter

The farm

Georgina Demspter, Year 6
Springlands School, Blenheim, Marlborough

I collected my items for my wonder box at my uncle and auntie’s farm. The sheep’s wool represents my two pet lambs that I had. I put the thistle in to remind me of climbing MountWatkins.

Did you know that deer velvet is used as a medicine? The deer velvet reminds me of feeding the deer with my uncle.

My wonder box will be special to me forever because it gives me good memories of my childhood. Ever since I’ve remembered, I’ve always wanted to go to their farm and spend time with my uncle and auntie.

What kind of sheep’s wool is in my wonder box? Clue – we make clothes with it.

Dev Rishi

My treasures

Dev Rishi, Year 6
Springlands School, Blenheim, Marlborough

I found my collection of rocks at the Wairau Diversion on one of our family outings. It was difficult to choose what rocks to collect as the beach was covered in thousands of rocks and I wanted to collect special or unusual rocks.

The rocks are special to me because they are all different shapes and sizes and colours, and I love to hold them and feel the smoothness of rocks in my palm.

I will always treasure this wonder box because it brings back memories of my family and the fun we had.

Can you tell me what is your favourite rock?

Teana Clarke

What the tide brings in

Teana Clarke, Year 6
SpringlandsSchool, Blenheim, Marlborough

I collected my items at RarangiBeach and ArapawaIsland. I chose these places because our family goes there often. My family helped me find my collection. 

The scallop in the corner represents the ocean and shows that the sea is a treasure and we need to look after it. I put the can in to show all the rubbish that has drifted out to sea then is washed up on the beach.

I will treasure the cat’s eyes when I’m older because they will bring back happy memories of time with family and friends. Can you spot the limpet shells?

Mika Boniface

Signs of early Māori

Mika Boniface, Year 4
Linkwater School, Marlborough

My collection is of signs of early Māori. I found the argillite on some Marlborough Sounds beaches. It was really hard to find because it blended in with the sand.

I like it because the argillite is smooth and black.  It was brought from D’Urville Island by Māori people. Then little pieces of argillite were chipped off a big rock to make an adze, a tool that the Māori used like this one found in the Sounds.  It is amazing to think it was handled by a man hundreds of years ago.

I found the white shells in a midden, a dumping ground for the shells that Māori ate out of, in Mahakipaoa.  I will treasure them when I grow up because they’re really old.

Why did they chip the argillite off?