Exhibitions On now

Base isolators

Quake Braker
Te Whakangāwari Rū

Go underground to see the amazing Kiwi innovation that ‘puts the brakes on’ in an earthquake.

Have you ever wondered what would happen to Te Papa in an earthquake? Our building sits close to a major fault line on soft, reclaimed land – how do we keep our taongataonga treasures and people safe?

Go underground at Quake Braker to see the amazing Kiwi innovation that ‘puts the brakes on’ in an earthquake.

In Quake Braker you can:

  • see some of the 152 base isolators that Te Papa sits on
  • try our interactive ‘shake table’ to see how base isolators work in an earthquake
  • watch a video that tells the ‘foundation' story of Te Papa
  • examine a scratch pad that records the movement between our building and its base.

Base isolators

Base isolators are large rubber blocks laminated with steel, and with pure lead columns inside. They were invented by New Zealand scientist Dr William Robinson.

This ingenious invention isolates the building from earthquakes and damps much of the shaking. Reducing the severity of shaking helps to protect the people and contents inside Te Papa.

Base isolators are now used in buildings around the world in areas subject to seismic activity.

Quake Braker exhibition

Caption

Quake Braker exhibition, 2017. Photograph by Rachael Hockridge. Te Papa

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