Sculpture struck by lightning

BIG SKIES: Sally Coltart sent in this shot of the weather rolling in, over Paremata towards Mana Island.
BIG SKIES: Sally Coltart sent in this shot of the weather rolling in, over Paremata towards Mana Island.
ROLLING IN: A passenger took this shot from their plane seat of the storm arriving over the harbour.
ROLLING IN: A passenger took this shot from their plane seat of the storm arriving over the harbour.
SPLIT: Selena Natoli sent in this shot, showing how the sculpture came apart.
SPLIT: Selena Natoli sent in this shot, showing how the sculpture came apart.
FRIED: Mark Boucher sent in this shot of the sculpture after it was struck.
FRIED: Mark Boucher sent in this shot of the sculpture after it was struck.

A Wellington sculpture has been blown up by lightning after a southerly change slammed the capital this afternoon.

The "needle" - a zephyrometer largely paid for by Meridian Energy and installed at Evans Bay in 2003 was struck by lightning about 2.30pm.

Wellington City Council spokesman Richard MacLean said the sculpture, designed by artist Phil Price, was "completely stuffed" and there was a lot of debris that needed to be cleaned up.

The lightning strike had also affected traffic lights in the area and contractors had been sent to work on them while council staff and the fire service helped with traffic flow.

Kilbirnie resident Atom Emet's timing was bang-on when he decided to use his video camera to record a storm hitting the capital.

Emet noticed the "violent" change in the weather so hit record on his camera from his window and seconds later captured the needle sculpture being struck by lightning.

Emet cycles daily and can see the sculpture clearly from his home, which he uses to gauge the weather direction and how long it will take him to get to his destination.

"It's pretty useful for me so I'm a fan of it.''

Evans Bay Intermediate pupil Harriette Boucher was watching the hail outside with her classmates when she heard a "huge bang" and sparks started falling off the needle.

"When the sparks had cleared you could see it was all split and burnt down the sides.''

Harriette, 11, is a fan of the sculpture and hopes it gets repaired but seeing it get blown up had been quite scary.

The Dominion Post