Wellington Ferns globe sculpture to make comeback after four month hiatus

Wellington's renowned sculpture Ferns was removed from its position in the Civic Square for repair in June.

Wellington's renowned sculpture Ferns was removed from its position in the Civic Square for repair in June.

The giant silver orb that used to hang over Civic Square is pegged to make a comeback, but when, and in what form, is a mystery.

Ferns, the spherical sculpture that used to sit suspended above the square, has been absent from the Wellington skyline since June 22, after being taken down when Wellington City Council workers noticed its aluminium metal-work was showing signs of "fatigue".

But almost four months on, the orb has not been returned. 

It was briefly sighted in the warehouse of an engineering company in Petone but has since been moved to another, secret locale.

Wellington's 'Ferns' globe sculpture gone due to damage
Civic Square's Ferns sculpture

Ferns, by Christchurch artist Neil Dawson, was installed in 1998 and is a popular photo subject for tourists and locals alike.

Wellington City Council spokesman Clayton Anderson said the artist and engineers were working on returning Wellington's disco ball to pride of place, in some form or another.

"It is with the engineer and artist to work together with to come up with some options of what they are going to do with it, and Neil's weighing up these options and doing some number-crunching and he's going to get back to us with some options," he said.

What those options might be, he could not speculate. 

"We'd rather see the globe there than not there," he assured.

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The artist was due to present options to the council in mid-November. 

But any repair or replacement would come with a price-tag, and that would be a consideration for the council's Parks and Gardens team, Anderson said.

"Cost will be a factor, it's got to be within a reasonable price ... you can't give a blank cheque to installing these things, so it will be a factor but we just don't know what the options are until we hear back from Neil."

Anderson said he didn't expect to see the globe up before mid-November.

Wellington Sculpture Trust chair Sue Elliott said they had been working with the engineers and artist to find "the best way forward".

"We could probably just fix it but how long would it last?

"That's part of the work that is being done now, to see what can be done to strengthen it, or asking do we need to make changes – albeit subtle – because we want it to look the same," she said.

"Everybody's intention is to get it back up.

 - Stuff


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