Download The Wellington App for more stories like this.

Silver fern sphere hangs again over Te Ngākau

The re-creation of the popular hanging sculpture Ferns has just been installed in Te Ngākau (Civic Square).

Wellington City Council workers were on the job from 5.00am this morning preparing for the installation of the stainless steel sphere, a replacement for the original Ferns by Christchurch-based artist Neil Dawson.

The original 200kg sculpture was installed in 1998, but had to be removed three years ago as wear and tear had taken it beyond repair.

The new Ferns is as close as possible to the original, but has a stronger internal structure and is cut from stainless steel, which is more robust than the original aluminium.

Today’s installation involved eight 4mm steel cables hung from the top of the WCC Building and the City Gallery opposite. A small crane, cherry-picker and two utes were used in the lengthy operation of raising the sculpture. The car park underneath the square makes the use of heavier machinery impossible.

The replacement involved a lot of work for the Wellington Sculpture Trust, not least fundraising the $200,000 needed to cope with all the costs of engineers, building consent exemptions, earthquakes and other commitments. And of course, the artist’s costs.

Wellington Sculpture Trust Chair Sue Elliott said, “We are extremely grateful to Neil for his commitment to completing the work, particularly because it is always hard for an artist to go back to a work they completed over 20 years ago”.