New Zealand

The final time capsule opening in Mapua, New Zealand
Neil and I Mapua School, Mapua, on the South Island was the last stop on the time capsule opening tour of the World Sculptures. It was warm and sunny in December 2015 and very near to the time of summer solstice there in the southern hemisphere.
When I arrived at the school, the teachers and the Principal, Neil Chalmers welcomed me. Children were running barefoot and wearing the blue school hats that they are required to wear because of the thin ozone layer in the summer. Sixth grade teacher Sharon Prestidge introduced me to two sixth grade girls, Millie and Tyler, who were organizing plans for the ceremony to open the time capsule. It was a unique and special ceremony. I was struck by the attention to the Maori culture. Millie described the planned performances of haka (dance) by 30 students and mentioned to me that she was one of the dancers and that she and her mother were Maori.
Just before the ceremony Sharon Prestidge gathered all the visitors or guests into a group saying, “We are on the waka (boat) together, (remembering the Polynesian canoes that brought the original people to Aoteraoa or New Zealand) and we are joining in a common purpose. Think of those who came before us, and of the sacredness of the earth under the sculpture.” We moved slowly toward the sculpture and heard the school children singing a welcoming song to us.
Boys haka. Video: Jennifer Robins Soon after, a group of 30 students began haka performances, a Maori cultural dance performed in a line. (For rugby fans, the All Blacks, New Zealand’s World Champion rugby team performs a haka facing the opposing team using loud and tough warrior moves meant to challenge the opponent.) Mapua School boys perform their own challenge.
Girls haka. Video: Jennifer Robins When the girls did their performance it reminded me Hawaiian hula performances I had seen.
Looking at capsule
Cutting capsule top Soon attention went to opening the time capsule.
Two students who had placed artwork in the capsule in 2007 look through the drawings and sort them to show to others.
Sharon Prestidge passes them to children.
And the capsule is carried back into the Mapua School’s front lobby to rest for twenty-five years until 2040 when it will be opened again.
Children’s artwork from the Mapua time capsule
Below are a few selected pieces of artwork made by Mapua children.
Map of New Zealand
“The pukeko can be an annoying bird but beautiful in a quirky way.”
New Zealand’s signature bird, the kiwi, is flightless and is vulnerable to extinction.
The following pieces were made by children in Vermont and Rhode Island.
Could these be rice plants? This artwork was made by Japanese children in Izumi, Sendai, Japan.
Mapua, Richmond, New Zealand

On December 4, 2015 we will open up the green ceramic capsule at the Mapua School. The sculpture at the school is TELLING STONES, and is a circle of boulders including a sundial and star alignments.

TELLING STONES was dedicated and the capsule filled in December 2007