The spinning ball in the main entrance

The spinning ball in our entrance is the oldest material in Te Papa as the rock it’s made from is 1.4 billion years old.

The Sponsorship Recognition Stone

Photo by Johnny Hendrikus. Te Papa (136707)

The ball is able to spin, even with pressure on it, because of a 0.2 millimetre layer of water between the ball and its base. Solenoid-controlled jets pulse the water to keep the ball moving when no one is pushing it.

The stone

  • is made from gabbro, a coarse crystalline basalt (often called Swedish ebony granite) from Transvaal, South Africa

  • sits on a base stone of Indian Hassan green granite

  • weighs 0.79 tonnes

  • measures 82 centimetres in diameter

  • was machined by the Kusser Granit company in Germany.