Under the Garden
New Zealand’s $30 million pavilion at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai is expecting 400,000 visitors through its doors over the next six months. New Zealand Commissioner-General Phillip Gibson said that, even before the opening, hundreds of people had come to touch a 12-metre-high steel and rubber pohutukawa tree which guarded the entrance to the New Zealand pavilion. “We’ve had to build a barricade around it because it’s been so popular,” Gibson said. Gibson said New Zealand had bagged a prime spot near the Chinese pavilion and in clear view of the millions who use one of Shanghai’s main bridges. A waka would be carved outside and an 1800kg pounamu boulder was already proving to be an attraction. A rooftop garden, designed to reflect the diverse New Zealand landscape, is planted with alpine mountain grasses and includes a bubbling mud pool, and a beach. Beyond the scenery were business and political objectives. “It’s a great opportunity to showcase ourselves in a country that is increasingly critical to our economic wellbeing,” Gibson said.