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August 10, 2009 | by  | in Visual Arts | [ssba]

The bucket fountain


At the beginning of the year I planned to write a series about the art on our streets in Wellington: the stuff we pass every day but is so much a part of our surroundings that we don’t really think about what it means as a piece of artwork, what it symbolises, why it is there, who made it… So here are a few facts about one of all of our favourite Wellington icons: the Bucket Fountain.

  • Designed by architects and town planning consultants Burren and Keen 1969, when Cuba Mall was opened as a pedestrian zone.
  • Became world famous when Elijah Wood confirmed he had urinated in it, in an interview with American chat show host, Jay Leno.
  • Its imperfect design, criticised at its opening in 1969, is now considered part of its charm. In 2003 when it was taken away to be revamped for The Lord of the Rings premiere (kind of ironic, considering the above fact), its fans worried that it would be ‘fixed’ so that the water would actually land in the buckets. Luckily, they didn’t bother and whatever they did when re-fibreglassing it has actually made it splash even more over the pavement.
  • On windy days, it’s even rarer that the water will land in the buckets below.
  • Its popularity is proven by the fact it has its own website where you can buy t-shirts and other merchandise.

Oh, and Wellington City Library is doing a cool online collaborative history project, so if you have any interesting intereactions with the Bucket Fountain or any other stories about Cuba Street, add them to


About the Author ()

Fiona was named "Recessionista" in the ASPA Fashion Awards 2009 for her Takaka op-shop frock and spray painted shoes. She co-edits the arts section and also likes to write about women and other stuff.

Comments (1)

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  1. anonymous says:

    It has it’s own website?! Dominic Monaghan(Meriadoc Brandybuck) urinated in the fountain with Elijah.

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