It’s been vilified, dye-bombed and wee’d in by a hobbit, and now on October 12, Cuba Mall’s iconic Bucket Fountain is celebrating its fiftieth birthday.
Following the phasing out of trams and removal of tracks in 1967, Cuba Street became temporarily pedestrianised. Businesses loved it, and petitioned the Council for the layout to become a permanent fixture to entice the foot traffic and wallets of locals.
Cuba Mall was launched in 1969, based on similar malls around the world, which were designed to encourage shopping as a pleasurable experience, rather than a chore.
The Bucket Fountain was installed to coincide with the launch of Cuba Mall. Originally named the ‘water mobile’, the kinetic sculpture was created by Burren and Keen, and Graham Allardice, as part of the Cuba Mall development – and is now recognised as one of Wellington’s most famous landmarks.
As the first pedestrianised street in New Zealand, the official launch of Cuba Mall and the turning on of the Bucket Fountain was done with much fanfare led by Mayor Frank Kitts – despite torrential rain.
To celebrate this momentous anniversary, the council is planning some fun activities online and around the neighbourhood.
Council’s City Archives has been rummaging around their treasure trove for some highlights from the era, including images and plans for the area, which they will incorporate into the festivities.