Gentleman snaps off $1 million sculpture

Originally published at:


A beautiful waterfront in one of my favorite cities in the world.

If he truly wanted to climb on something and jump in the harbor there is a ~10m diving platform a few hundred meters walk from there. As it’s New Zealand, al the risk is on you and people embrace that.

I hope this jackass gets billed for the repairs to the water whirler.


Are there signs posted saying that it is a sculpture and not to interact with it?
Otherwise it seems like a perfectly reasonable interpretation.


In case anyone wonders, as I did, what makes a pole sticking up out of a hole in a dock worth a million dollars…

From the photos at the link, it’s quite lovely, runs for ten minutes an hour, on the hour. When it’s not snapped off by a “gentleman”


Alas, it seems the entire 21st Century requires “gentleman” proofing.


Just what in the hell made this guy think this was a good idea? I hope they send him a bill for $1mil when he gets out of the hospital, along with his medical bill. More stupid humans.

OIC, are you one of those, “Wait, hold my beer.” kind of manly men?


It reminds me of the ‘dancing’ fountain display in front of the Bellagio in LV, but more discreet. I imagine they frown on people playing with that fountain too.


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

Refreshing to see someone who’s not afraid to call a duck a duck, at least.


Seems like a jerk move to assume it’s a plaything, but the words “attractive nuisance” did cross my mind…


So it’s a million dollar Crazy Daisy? I see.


the sculpture fell on the man while he was in the water, and he was sent to the hospital.

Sadly he wasn’t injured too badly


A water wiggle is the first thing I thought of:


It’s a lovely piece. I get why he climbed it - I’ve done similarly dumb things in the past, fortunately without damaging anything or myself. I hope and trust it will be lovely again, and that they don’t fence it off. It was explicitly designed originally so that people could go out there. I’d hate to see another piece of the public space fenced off, and/or slathered in “don’t be stupid” signs per the suggestion by @roomwithaview There’s already more than enough of those signs in the world, spoiling aesthetics with their aggressive ugliness.

See that picture, in the OP? I’ve often sat on the end of that pier that the fountain is on (edit: to be clear, not when the fountain is on :slight_smile: ), watching the world drift by. It’s really popular with young kids (too? You decide …) - it feels vaguely transgressive to go out there, and there is a slight risk you might get a bit wet if the fountain happens to go off while you’re out there looning about. The last time I was out there was early in July, after dinner with my partner for her birthday. We bought a bottle of wine and a couple of glasses from a supermarket, and sat on the end of the pier drinking and chatting in the dark. It was a neat time, and I hope I’ll be able to repeat it, and I hope other folks will be able to create their own memories out there too.

@Raoul is exactly right about the jumping platform, although there’s actually two; the “gangplank” by the bridge, and the staircase platform into the moon pool by the crane.* Plus the entire wharf frontage for a km or so in either direction has ladders and what not, so really you can jump in anywhere.

'* PROTIP: the old ambulance base beside the staircase platform has the best-kept-secret public loos in Wellington. Not many folks realise they’re even there, so they don’t get a lot of use and - even by Wellington’s generally high standards - are quite nice. Also also; the showers on the outside are provided with solar heated water, so there’s a warm shower waiting for you after you jump off into the moon pool. Even at night, even in winter.


No, but as a kid I did jump into lakes by swinging off of long trees and branches pretty much just like that gentleman.

Except it is located out into the water, and the pole bit seems designed (pre-bent even) to reach a safe distance out, and as @Raoul mentioned there is also a diving board not too far away. So, yeah, seems like a perfectly reasonable assumption.

If anybody responsible for that thing is reading this thread I would advise a couple of poles and a light chain with a small sign to block off that bit of the pier and explain what it is. Then it would be a jerk move…

ETA: @jons suggests that people do sit out there, so maybe not block the whole thing; perhaps just a wee bit of chain around the sculpture itself?


“This is why we can’t have nice things.” - Just about everybody’s parents


It’s not ‘pre-bent’. It does have a lot of flexibility so it will dance as designed when the fountain is playing, but when it’s not it stands up pretty straight. It’s bent over in the photo because the gentleman is hanging off it.

Does/did past/present tense

So, yeah, seems like a perfectly reasonable assumption.

Well, yeah, except AFAIK this is the first time any of the millions of folks who’ve been there in the last 20 years have decided “hey, you know what? That spindly looking pole looks like it should be climbed on.”

Addendum1: bear in mind that the million dollars quoted is NZ$. That’s, like, about US$2.50

Addendum2: the gentleman apologised, for whatever you think that’s worth, and he’s has been charged with wilful damage. And the sculpture is/was insured.


The good news is that the value is not in the construction (the artist who designed it did not actually build it), plus it was already in need of repair. Fiberglass is not a permanent building material. I understand they’re thinking of farming out the tube remanufacture to University of Canterbury faculty and students.


Sorry, I should have clarified that I wasn’t referring to that photo. There is a slight bend visible in the other photos as well.

That we know of anyway, if it hadn’t broken nobody would have known, this could have been a secret local tradition, now ruined by this one sad sack who bent it the wrong way (or something).



“Gentleman asks other gentleman to hold his malt-based fermented beverage”