The Giant Toothpick

Toothpicks just don’t get enough respect. They play a vital role in our lives – removing stuck food from our teeth. How many times would we have looked a fool, yet have been saved by the wonderful little piece of wood known as the toothpick? But where are the paintings, monuments and national holidays celebrating them?

Nelson, New Zealand, took notice and decided to do something about the glaring public indifference. At the cost of $200,000 (NZD), they put up a huge monument in honour of the mighty toothpick, that can be seen from most places in town.

In actuality, the Giant Toothpick is a monument marking the ‘Centre of New Zealand’. Naturally, I was curious and wished to see what all of the fuss was about. So on a glorious sunny day I hiked on over to the hill that hosted the monument. Besides the toothpick, the views from the top were stellar, giving a great view out on the town.

I played, ‘hey, I can spot my house (hostel) from here!’

Is this the actual Centre of New Zealand? Not really. The monument explains something about this being the center of the Nelson area, or something. The monument also doubles as a Trig station – a marker set up on top of hills for trigonometric purposes. The actual Centre of New Zealand? My highly scientific method (MS Paint), seems to point towards the Abel Tasman area of New Zealand. So Nelson isn’t too far off.

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