A damaged $150,000 Wellington sculpture appears to have been left at a rubbish centre.

The iconic Ferns orb hung over Civic Square until June 2015, when it had to be removed because of constant wind damage.

A crane was brought in to take it down, and the council eventually decided to replace it with a sturdier version.

The original orb is estimated to have cost $150,000, and fundraising is under way for the $210,000 replacement.


But now some eagle-eyed Wellingtonians have spotted the original sculpture, sitting in a waste management yard in Seaview.

Art historian Katie Minett was heading out with her partner for a weekend coffee when they saw it.

"We were both pretty shocked that it was just sitting there, no attempt to cover it up or anything, visible from the street," Minett said.

"It was pretty sad to see it in that state.

"I mean, I know it's damaged, I know they can't repair it, but you'd have thought they would cover it up, at least."

Minett said it would have been better to see the sculpture repurposed, even if it needed to be on the ground instead of in the air.

With it now being almost two years since the orb was pulled down, she said there should have been more clarity about what was happening.

"It feels wrong.


"I don't know how the original one was funded, but someone paid for it.

"It's just sitting there sad, not getting looked after.

"We should know why it's on the side of the road, in a scrap metal yard, and what's going to happen to it."

Wellington Sculpture Trust chairwoman Sue Elliott said the orb was only at the yard temporarily, while they decided on its future.

She said that the sculpture going to the tip permanently was "not my preference".

It was being held at the waste yard because the property was owned by one of the Sculpture Trust trustees.

It was sitting on a specially built cradle, and she was confident the elements wouldn't harm it.

"It's not going anywhere for the moment," Elliott said.

"We have to have discussions with the artist about what happens next.

"We just wanted to focus completely on the new work."

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester said he knew about the storage arrangement, and was happy with it.

The orb had been there since June 2015 because the storage was free.

"It's prone to the elements, I mean, it was hung out in Wellington.

"I think people are jumping to conclusions, it's certainly not going to the tip.

"For a start, Wellington City Council and the Sculpture Trust own it. So we want to make sure it has a permanent home."

Lester said there was a "high likelihood" that the sculpture would eventually be repurposed.

That would only be decided for sure once the issue of replacement was finished.

$150,000 has been raised so far for the replacement orb, including community donations through https://www.boosted.org.nz/projects/neil-dawson-fern.

The replacement sculpture is hoped to be in place around June.