Rugby fans around the world will, I’m sure, be familiar with Cardiff’s Millennium – now Principality Stadium. Built in the late 1990s, after Wales had won the right to stage the 1999 Rugby World Cup, the stadium was constructed in the central city, a rugby ball’s throw from Cardiff Castle, adjacent to the still-extant Cardiff Arms Park, and on the site of the old Empire swimming pool.
But this post is not about the stadium itself (you can read more about that on its website). The stadium sits alongside the River Taff, and there is a riverside walkway that takes the pedestrian past one of the stadium’s entrances. There, under your feet, you can see a series of mosaic panels representing the nations that took part in the 1999 World Cup.
The main countries have their own panels, with one that lumps together the ‘other nations’ – I’m not sure which they were. The panels show the flags of the various nations, together with symbols of those nations.
The New Zealand panel shown here includes a sheep, a kiwi and what is probably meant to be a tuatara (the lizard-type creature); a dolphin and a whale; a silver fern, red pohutukawa flowers and what’s probably meant to be a fern (as we do not have coconut palms in New Zealand); a sailing ship, a Maori canoe and, presumably, the ceremonial gateway into a Maori pa; a koru (unfurling fern frond) and one other item (top left), which I haven’t yet figured out.
The mosaics themselves are crude but I like the idea behind them and, twenty years on, they are still in reasonably good condition.