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

Caption

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.