Top 10


Spinning Top

Artist Robert Jahnke
Location Woodward Street
Tour directions From Shells cross Lambton Quay aboutt 20m back at the pedestrian crossing. Turn right and take an immediate left into Woodward st. You will find Spinning top at the end.

Spinning protest

Robert Jahnke's (b.1951) work often tackle issues of biculturalism and protest over Maori loss of land and natural resources.

Sculpture background

Robert Jahnke had been working on a series of Maori spinning tops or potaka and decided to modify the design to include a pictorial history of Wellington.

"I wanted to go for something that was visually interesting, so I created a European version of the top and included Maori references through heiroglyphics. Spinning Top traces the history of Whanganui-a-Tara, the Maori name for Wellington. The major mythical story is that of the two taniwha in the harbour. The taniwha formed the harbour and the surrounding hills with their movements.

Robert Jahnke

This stainless steel work is on the site of a former turntable, on which vehicles turned around in the cul-de-sac. Symbols on the upper side relate to the Wellington region and refer to Maori and European culture. They include the Beehive, a waka (canoe), a sailing ship and the two taniwha whose movements formed the harbour and surrounding hills.