Installation of the Hemo Gorge sculpture did not go exactly to plan on Saturday, with the inner helix requiring more adjustment to fit.

The sculpture - named Te Ahi Tupua - was moved from the Kilwell Fibretube warehouse on Te Ngae Rd to the Hemo Gorge roundabout early on Saturday morning.

Rotorua Lakes Council operations manager Jocelyn Mikaere said the council was pleased with the operation to transport the 12m-high 3D-printed sculpture, calling the helicopter transport "textbook".

"The outer helix was secured in place within minutes.

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"However, the inner helix took more manoeuvring than expected to get it into place as the tolerances were very tight between the helices."

Mikaere said to restore traffic flow on Saturday, the inner helix was temporarily fixed in place within the outer helix and secured to allow the installation team more time to adjust it.

The Hemo Gorge sculpture installation on Saturday last week. Photo / Andrew Warner
The Hemo Gorge sculpture installation on Saturday last week. Photo / Andrew Warner

"Kilwell now has some pre-scheduled work to do on site to connect the inner to the outer helix."

She said the installation of the inner to the base plinth was complete but had required "the temporary removal of several small sections of inner tube".

"These tubes and the additional post installation inner to outer tubes will be installed over the next few weeks."

The sculpture courted controversy being three years behind schedule and at a total cost of $743,029 - an estimated $204,361 over budget.

While some, such as Rotorua Lakes councillor Reynold Macpherson, saw the sculpture as a "bonfire" of ratepayer money, others supported the sculpture saying it was "awesome for our city".

Others had taken to social media to say Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency - which contributed $200,000 to the sculpture - should instead focus on the camber of the road.

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Early concept art of Te Ahi Tupua. Photo / File
Early concept art of Te Ahi Tupua. Photo / File

Last week a Waka Kotahi NZTA spokeswoman said the organisation had carried out a safety audit of the roundabout soon after construction, which did not identify any issues with the camber.

"Following recent feedback we have commissioned a further post construction review of the roundabout to look at a range of things, including road geometry, camber, driver behaviours and speed.

"Any issues identified by the review will be fully investigated and any remedial works programmed as appropriate."