"Water Whirler - Artwork that does not always Work" Top 5 Page for this destination Waterfront Tip by Kakapo2

Waterfront, Wellington: 23 reviews and 46 photos

  The Water Whirler. Oriental Bay in the background.
by Kakapo2

This rather weird artwork which obviously cost NZ$ 500,000 is a posthumously realised work, built by the Len Lye Foundation in accordance with drawings and descriptions left by the artist Len Lye. It sits on the Waterfront, on the way from Queens Wharf to Frank Kitts Park.

Len Lye was rather a famous artist, born in New Zealand in 1901. He died in New York in 1980.

As you see, this kinetic sculpture could only be interesting when it is operating. But exactly this is the problem. It needs certain water and wind conditions, and only if they are right it operates at several full hours during the day. Then water should run through the tube and spray through holes in the tube and create something looking like a fish skeleton? If not, it looks like it looks on the photo ? like a U-shaped landing platform which can be accessed via some stairs, and a dangling steel tube.

If it works the display takes 12 minutes. The performance schedule is: 10am, 11am, 12 noon, 1pm, 3pm, 6pm, 8pm, 9pm and 10pm. If the "windicator" light (a tiny lamp) on the pier is on, the work cannot be performed because the wind is too strong.

When we were there, the light was not on but the wind whirler did not perform at the full hour either. So the artwork did not delight anybody. I thought the most interesting thing while waiting for the never starting spraying were the black backed gulls which used the platform as landing patch for their mussels. Those gulls throw their food from high above to the ground, so the shell cracks and they can pull out the flesh? I enjoy watching them :-)

Directions: On the Waterfront, between Queen's Wharf and Frank Kitts Park.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Was this review helpful?

  • Written Apr 15, 2008
  • Send to a Friend
  • Add to your Trip Planner
  • Report Abuse



“Visit dream destinations but keep your eyes open”

Online Now


Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 1 0 5
Forum Rank:
0 0 6 3 1

Have you been to Wellington?

  Share Your Travels