It's not "cup-o-la". And no, "cup-ola" is also wrong.
It turns out the golden cupola, being boated into Whangārei Town Basin this morning, is pronounced in a completely different way.
University of Auckland professor of Italian Bernadette Luciano confirmed it should be pronounced "koo-po-la".
"In Italian a "u" is always an "o" sound," she explained.
From today, the cupola will sit atop the controversial Hundertwasser building in the town basin.
The correct pronunciation was news to many, including the Hundertwasser Art Centre with Wairau Māori Art Gallery communications manager Greg Hay, who said the team would endeavour to now pronounce it the correct way.
"It's always best practice to use the correct pronunciation," he said. "We'll endeavour to do that from now on."
The cupola is a common feature of Hundertwasser's architecture. Gilded cupolas are incorporated in the artist's other architectural projects around the world.
The 3.5 tonne aluminium tower has been a six-month project involving a covering of $50,000 worth of fine leaf gold intricately and custom-made at Absolute Stainless's fabrication workshop.
It was sealed with a protective coating to protect it from the elements and to ensure it couldn't be removed, with its durability expected to last 100 years.
The cupola was moved by barge yesterday ready for its 6am departure from Port Nikau this morning.
Travelling around 2 knots, or a walking speed, up harbour, it was due to arrive at the Town Basin and be craned into place on the near-complete Hundertwasser building at 8am.
Hay said it was arriving earlier than the planned 8.30am time to avoid potential wind as the day progressed.
Looking forward to its arrival was neighbouring Mokaba Cafe owner Justin Le Cheminant, who was anticipating a strong turnout.
"We think it's fabulous. It's really exciting and we've been happily putting up with the noise and dust and drills and earth shakers next door and we know that the benefit is going to be there.
"It's been a long time coming but you can put up with the (Hātea) Loop being blocked and the noise and the dust and the rest of it because you know it's going to be unique."
He said contractors from the site had frequented his cafe, saying "If you think the outside is impressive, wait until you see the inside".
"Whangārei has been very lucky to have this – it's going to be a huge benefit."
Online invitations to the installation event and articles in the Northern Advocate drew a mixed response with many looking forward to attending and others calling it "ugly as", a "waste of money", "an eyesore" and a "great tribute to Friesian cows".
One of the most celebrated artists to come out of Europe in the 20th Century, Friedensreich Hundertwasser celebrated irregular lines and contrasting textures and colours, and was acclaimed for his work with colour and mosaics.
The $33.2 million project has employed more than 500 people of various trades with the construction involving tens of thousands of coloured tiles and 40,000 recycled red bricks.
In keeping with his grass-roof theme, it has the largest afforested roof in the southern hemisphere after 150 trees were crane-lifted over recent months along with the planting of thousands of plants with an estimated value of $100,000 donated by a local nursery.
The project is on track for its December 3, 2021, completion date.