Spinning ball

The Sponsorship Recognition Stone acknowledges Te Papa’s founding sponsors.

  • When Long-term exhibition
  • Where Entrance

The stone:

  • is 1.4 billion years old – the oldest material in Te Papa
  • 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.

View of Spinning ball from the floor above


Spinning ball, 2015. Te Papa, 2015. Te Papa

How does it spin?

Low-pressure water from a 500-litre tank provides the power to rotate the ball. The layer of water between ball and base is just 0.2 millimetres thick. Solenoid-controlled jets pulse the water to keep the ball moving when no one is pushing it.

For hygiene reasons, the water is treated with swimming-pool chemicals and changed weekly.