The man who shattered Wellington's $300,000 Len Lye Water Whirler will face a charge of wilful damage.

A police spokeswoman today confirmed a 28-year-old man has been summoned to appear in court for damaging the $300,000 sculpture. His case will be heard in November.

Local man Hunter MacDonald has publicly admitted to being the person filmed climbing the Water Whirler earlier this week, bending it until it broke.

Sculpture damage inspires 'idiot signs'


MacDonald was hit on the head by the pole before falling into the water on Monday, leaving him with a gash in his head. He was treated in hospital for his injuries.

MacDonald has not responded to Herald requests for an interview, but in a video supplied to Stuff he said he was bored at the time and wanted to practise his gymnastics.

"A crowd started to form, sort of egging me on ... I was sort of taking it further and further seeing how high I could go, seeing how far I could push the sculpture."

In another video supplied to One News, he said there "wasn't a sign that says don't climb".

Wellington mayor Justin Lester said he supported the police decision to lay charges.

"Look, it was an act of utter stupidity, really. I encourage people to think twice about doing something this silly."

He said Wellingtonians were "rightfully" upset and disgusted with MacDonald's antics.

"I've seen some pretty silly acts in my time ... this was certainly a very negligent act of a public display of bravado which really backfired quite seriously, but he shouldn't have been there in the first place.


"I look forward to the justice system taking its course."

The Len Lye sculpture had been undergoing maintenance following damage caused during the Kaikoura earthquake when the sea water got into it and fried the electrics and was due to be back in action this month.

But the flexible fibreglass structure was bent and broken after being climbed on Monday.

Roger Horrocks, a trustee of the Len Lye Foundation and author of Lye's biography, said it was not the first time the iconic sculpture had been damaged.

The foundation had no uptake when it previously recommended Wellington City Council block access to the sculpture. He hoped it would now reconsider.

"A sculpture like that has to be proofed against idiots - total idiots who want to destroy it.

"People don't seem to understand that if you lean on it or tug it... it hasn't been damaged to the same extent previously. I mean this guy has actually broken it off, but it has been interfered with and damaged."