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“Silly” breaker of Water Whirler charged

The man who climbed up, swung on, then broke the wand of the kinetic Len Lye waterfront sculpture near Frank Kitts Park has been charged with intentional damage.

Hunter Macdonald, 28, was originally charged with wilful damage, but police confirmed he is now facing the more serious charge of intentional damage. He will appear in court on 9 November.

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester called Macdonald’s actions “really silly”, and while the council’s insurance will cover the costs of repairing Water Whirler, he would like to see community service or other reparation imposed by the court on the miscreant.

In a video statement after he was approached by TVNZ in College Street, Macdonald admitted his foolishness, and turned out to be the sort of person that not only decides to jump on to a piece of public art, but refers to himself in the third person:

“I started to perform some of my newfound gymnastics skills and one thing led to another. I seemed to attract a bit of an audience – Hunter Macdonald loves a good audience, he’s a bit of a showman – and I started to test the limits of the metal sculpture.”

Macdonald also apologised for his actions in a video supplied to Stuff, saying he never meant to damage the sculpture and had only done it because he was on his day off, “bored out of my mind”, and received a supportive response from a gathering crowd.

He said he was ready to “do whatever is required” to make amends.

Wellington Sculpture Trust chair Sue Elliot expressed disappointment to RNZ’s Morning Report that the sculpture had been damaged when it was close to being reopened.

“It’s set us back months probably when we were expecting to have the grand unveiling again in the next four weeks,” she said.