Paint is peeling off Rotorua's controversial Hemo Gorge sculpture and it urgently needs a repaint - just one-and-a-half years after it was installed.
But ratepayers won't be paying a cent as it is an issue with paint used by the sculpture's makers, Killwell in Rotorua.
Scaffolding will be erected around the sculpture this week, it will be fully wrapped, then sanded and repainted. The work is expected to take two months.
Killwell chief executive officer Craig Wilson described the paint's failure as a "kick in the guts after Covid" but said if it was left, it would only get worse.
"It's coming off rapidly. It's not going to cause damage to the structure itself but if we leave it any longer, we will have to sand the whole thing back and it will be a bigger job."
He couldn't comment on how much the repaint would cost but said it was a "substantial sum", especially taking into account hiring scaffolding for two months.
He confirmed ratepayers wouldn't be footing any of the bill.
"The council is contributing nothing. It is all on us."
The sculpture, officially called Te Ahi Tupua, is at the southern entrance of Rotorua in the middle of the Hemo Gorge roundabout.
It was originally meant to cost $500,000 but the final tally was $743,029 - an estimated $204,361 over budget - and was delivered three years behind schedule.
Rotorua Lakes Council's contribution rose from $270,000 to $388,000 and other project partners helped with the remaining funding, including Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, which contributed $200,000.
The blowout came after it was discovered the original design from stainless steel would be too heavy. Killwell later came forward with the idea to make the design using 3D printing - believed to be the first of its kind in the world.
The structure was finally helicoptered into place in September 2020 - costing a total of $9328.05 - but it wasn't officially finished and blessed until January 2021.
Last year the Rotorua Daily Post revealed the upkeep of the sculpture is to cost ratepayers about $5200 every year. This included $1000 a year to wash it and $30,000 every seven years to repaint it with specialised UV protective paint.
There's been a mix of responses about the sculpture from locals. Some thought it added value to the city while others thought it was a waste of money and questioned why it had been installed so low - sitting below road level.
Wilson said it was not known why the paint was peeling off.
"We've had some problems with other products so we don't know if it is a bad batch or what. But it's slowly perishing and getting worse."
Although he said it wasn't ideal to be starting this work during the school holidays, a start needed to be made before winter set in and ideally they would have started sooner.
They would be using a new paint system when the job is redone, Wilson said.
The council said in a statement yesterday those using the tunnels that connected the shared paths on either side of the roundabout where the sculpture was erected would need to take extra care when making their way through.
The site was blessed yesterday morning ahead of scaffolding going up.
The 12m tall carbon-printed sculpture was designed by the Māori Arts and Crafts Institute at Te Puia and was inspired by the famous Pōhutu Geyser.
The council had previously told the Rotorua Daily Post the upkeep costs would be covered by funds set aside in the council's arts maintenance budget.