Invercargill Middle School pupils share their stories


Last Friday, Invercargill Middle School pupils were invited to attend the opening of The Umbrella Sculpture, Our People — Time and Place at its new permanent home at the Doon St Reserve.  Year 6 tamariki wrote articles about their experiences at the opening and Room 7 teacher Georgia Bryan shared them with the Southland Express.

Article by Jaxon Lynch
On April 1st 2022 Invercargill Middle School walked down to the Doon St Reserve to see the relocation of the famous tourist attraction the Umbrella!

When we got there we met Tim Shadbolt, Invercargill’s mayor. That was really exciting for the kids that have not met Mr Shadbolt yet and The Mayor himself was looking fancy. He gave a speech about how this umbrella is a historic memory.

Mrs Beck, the wife of the umbrella’s maker, also gave a quick speech about the umbrella. In her speech she said that the umbrella was a sundial. Russell Beck, the maker of the umbrella, got inspiration for his umbrella idea from famous New Zealand sundial maker James Stewart.

After all the speeches Tim Shadbolt and Mrs Beck cut the red ribbon that was tied around the umbrella’s post. When the ribbon was cut we all clapped and cheered.

Once the photos were taken all us kids and teachers went to the bricks that had some of our surnames engraved in them. Lots of kids found their names but some didn’t.

I really enjoyed the ceremony because it was cool to be a part of history that day.

Article by Macey Henderson
On April 1 2022 Invercargill Middle School students and teachers went to see the re-opening of the umbrella sundial at Doon street reserve.

Russell Beck the creator of the umbrella sculpture has sadlypassed away, so his wife Ms Beck gave a speech for him. She also mentioned that the umbrella’s canopy shows the stars in midwinter.

Tim Shadbolt, the Mayor of Invercargill, was there too. It was an honour to see him give that speech. He stood with pride as other people were saying their speeches, it was really

As Tim and Ms Beck were talking, all the workers that helped support the umbrella movement were there too. I think we can all agree on the name being a good one – Our
People’s Time and Place Umbrella Sculpture.

The umbrella has lots of surnames under it – Don’t worry it’s the same surnames as before it was moved, they haven’t been changed. The ceremony was great. I even found my surname, Henderson. That made me feel so proud.

So if you live in Aotearoa or any other place come to Invercargill to see the amazing ‘Our People Time and Place Umbrella Sculpture’.

Article by Luke Payne
9:30pm 1/4/22 Tim Shadbolt starts his speech on the umbrella made by Russel Beck in 2000.

The sculpture is a sundial and to show astronomy and placement of sun, stars and planetary alignment. It was placed at Doon street reserve so people would see it easier.

The reserve is placed so Doon street, Don street and Queens drive can see it. Queens Drive is a very busy road so it is likely many people travelling in Invercargill will see the umbrella.

The umbrella was moved from Don street to Doon street reserve because of Invercargill City Council city street upgrade. It was a very hard decision to make to take the umbrella out of its original spot but they had to get it removed as you can see.

You might think it was boring but the umbrella ceremony would become another Invercargill historic event like the first umbrella opening ceremony. Going to the ceremony was an
extraordinary event, a once in a lifetime event I would say.

Article by Nethuki Perera
On April 1st 2022, there was an ‘Our People, Time and Place Umbrella’ ceremony in Doon street reserve. Before it was in Don street, but it got moved, because not many people could spot it.

The Invercargill Middle school students were invited to the ceremony, to watch. Lots of students were excited because they never met the mayor, Tim Shadbolt. We skipped along the roads to the ceremony. We had to sit down on the wet grass while listening to Tim Shadbolt talk.

Next, Mrs Beck talked about the history of Russell Beck and the umbrella, Russel Beck was the sculptor of the umbrella. Mrs Beck had a fancy blue coat with nice shoes.

After all the speeches Tim Shadbolt and Mrs Beck cut the ribbon with small, gold scissors. Then everyone clapped.

Tim Shadbolt announced to us to see if we spot our names on the bricks. Some of us had our name there.

Lastly, we lined up behind our teacher and found our buddy and walked back to school.I think the ceremony was amazing, because I never met the mayor before, he has so many gold badges, he looks really fancy!


Article by Max Donaldson
On Friday 1 April 2022 Invercargill Middle School students walked down to the Doon Street umbrella opening ceremony.
We saw Mr Tim Shadbolt and the organiser from parks. Shadbolt did his speech in his cute voice and Ms Beck talked about Russell Beck and the building of the umbrella.

After the talk the iwi blessed the umbrella and Tim Shadbolt and Ms Beck cut the red ribbon with scissors and invited us to find surnames. I love knowing the umbrella is part of Invercargill’s history.

The people were so happy that it was moved to this location because more of the community can see it. It was so cool to see the workers happy. Different company’s used teamwork to lift the heavy umbrella.