This week marks the 50th anniversary of when a piece of the Rock, taken from a stalactite in St Michael’s Cave was sent to New Zealand on behalf of the airline GibAir.
The piece of rock was sent over to form part of an installation in the NAC building, New Zealand National Airways offices on The Terrace in Wellington.
GibAir were asked, as were all of the world’s airlines, to contribute to the installation and they sent a piece of the Rock. The airline sent a stalactite from St Michael’s Cave weighting 2.7kg.
The installation was a stone mural depicting the development of aviation, a free standing capsule and a motif in tinted concrete and steel that illustrates the efforts of humans to reach for the skies in aviation.
The piece of Rock sent from Gibraltar was to be embedded into a concrete pathway surrounding the aviation motif.
It was planned that there would be a display that would show visitors where each gift from the various airlines came from.
Now, 50 years later this installation cannot be located.
Donning her detective hat, New Zealander Lydia Harris searched in vain to try and find the piece of Rock.
The NAC (Now Air NZ) building the installation was originally placed has undergone refurbishment over the years. Air NZ no longer occupies that building.
Ms Harris told the Chronicle of her bid to track it down.
“I initially went to 56 Aurora Terrace where the mural that is mentioned in the article has now been relocated,” she said.
“I talked to security there and went to reception and I left some details with them to find out anything they might know – no word so far. I then rang Airways Corporation media team – they didn’t know as it turns out Air NZ are the ones that took over from NAC.”
“So I went to Solnet House on 70 The Terrace and caught the elevator up to their main reception and rang the bell and talked to a lady who opened the door who thought I was a bit nuts asking about a rock.”
“She let me in after she asked her CFO if the building had been the old NAC building. She let me in to talk to him as his dad had worked there back in the day.”
“I showed him the article and he knew nothing but suggested Air NZ may have taken the rock when they took over but that also the building had had a major overhaul since then.
“I could still hear them laughing as I left as they said it was the most random request they had had all year – some girl looking for a rock. He did think that it was a massive rock until I showed him the photo and he said, ‘oh it is little, I thought it was massive’.”
Ms Harris then rang Air NZ on their media line but has yet to hear back from the airline.
She also took a photo of a mural and the blurb alongside it that used to be in the NAC building.
Ms Harries thinks that is the spot the 50 year old article alludes to.
“But the rock won’t be in that,” she said.
The mystery of where a little piece of Gibraltar that was flown to the other side of the world remains presently unsolved.
Pics by Lydia Harris