Heritage & Monuments

Bucket Fountain

New Zealand / The Pacific

The Bucket Fountain is one of the most iconic pieces of public art in Wellington. Located in Cuba Mall (part of Cuba Street), it is a kinetic sculpture, consisting of buckets that fill until they tip and then spill their water into the buckets and the pool below. It was designed by Burren and Keen, placed here in 1969 and upgraded by Wellington City Council in 2003. At that time some of the buckets were turned so as to splash the pavement on purpose.Cuba Street is one of the most culturally diverse streets in Wellington, and the fountain is a popular feature, since much of the water is splashed onto pedestrians, and as Wellington has many windy days, the water is often carried several metres away. On Friday and Saturday nights, people add to the amusement by adding dishwashing detergent to the water, filling Cuba Mall with bubbles.There have been some noted incidents involving the fountain. The American actor, Elijah Wood (b. 1981), who played Frodo in The Lord of the Rings film (2001) admitted to climbing onto the fountain one evening, bringing some notoriety to his actions. In 2006, the artist, John Radford (b. Palmerston, NZ, 1965) coated it in a mud-like substance, and in 2016, one of the larger yellow buckets was stolen but returned when then Mayor, Celia Wade-Brown, issued an appeal.

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