Europe has great sculptures, it goes along with the centuries-old buildings, spectacular fountains and plazas which have seen so much history. Wellington – well except for the, odd, ugly Victorian statue of long-deal Important People, not so much.
So when the local council decided to add some more interesting items to its streetscape – it had to build them. Here’s some of the more unusual ones – there’s actually over twenty. Wellington has a compact central city, you can walk from one end to the city to the other within about an hour – but it would actually take several days of good weather to tick all of these off! All of these can be found between Courtney Place and the Railway Station.
Hard to miss – across the road from the huge Embassy Theatre (art deco, cinema, worth a look), at the foot of Courtney Place with its wall to wall bars, cafes, restaurants. Built by Peter Jackson’s team from Weta Workshops it celebrates Wellington’s burgeoning film industry. Apparently if you look hard you will see bits of long-dead nintendo controllers, and a hair dryer.
Solace of the Wind
Personally I call him the leaning man, leaning into the wind, which Wellington is famous for. That’s why I took the picture, the calm harbour is unusual! You’ll find him just around the back of Te Papa (the big museum). If you get a day like this – change your plans and walk the waterfront from Oriental Bay to Queen’s Wharf – Wellington is beautiful on a good day, and that walk is the best way to appreciate it.
On a corner of busy Lambton Quay, it looks like Braile, but doesn’t actually say anything in that language. You are allowed to touch, and the shiny surface will sometimes reflect the surrounding high rises. Hard to miss if you are heading for the Cable Car.
Raumoko is the Maori God of earthquakes and volcanoes. Located on what was once Wellington’s waterfront, before several disastrous earthquakes in the 1850s. This sculpture includes letters from nearby demolished heritage buildings (demolished because they couldn’t’ be made earthquake resistant). Walking around this area you will see brass plates in the ground marking the original 1840 shoreline – its over a kilometre inland these days.
The huge spinning top, puzzles visitors, but locals laugh at it. Its on Woodward Street, a narrow little shopping street off Lambton Quay, as you walk up the short cul-de-sac consider that as late as the early 1980′s this was a 2-way street with parking! The top is where there used to be car turntable, used to turn the car, the space was too small for a 3 point turn! Wellington’s geography makes it a great place to walk but for drivers it can be challenging!
Yes the odd-shaped building in the background is called the Beehive, its the 1980′s extension of the NZ Parliament Buildings on the right. In foreground though there are a number of sculptures: the Buzzy Bee (world famous NZ toy) is the orange and red thingy on the poll. The low lying disks are called “Seismic Shock” – yeah we’re a bit obsesses with earthquakes. The tall statues across the road mark the original waka (canoe) landing place of the Maori settlers in the area.