Visiting these five Wellington-famous statues in your own time is a great way to explore the central city, especially if you’re new to the city and want to get orientated.
When a real-life travel guide doesn’t fit the budget—or maybe you just prefer the quiet types—why not try a sculpture tour.
This tour will introduce you to some of the city’s most popular spots including the CBD, Lambton Quay, Wellington Waterfront and lower Cuba Street.
You could do the tour the way its listed here, or in reverse. It really depends where is most convenient for you to end up.
A word of warning here—the whole tour covers a reasonable distance on foot, so I wouldn’t blame you for catching a ride on a crocodile bike along the Waterfront.
Get acquainted with the creative capital the way Wellington knows best—through art.
First stop—Woman of Words
Artist: Virginia King
Commissioned by: The Katherine Mansfield Society, Wellington City Council and the Wellington Sculpture Trust
Start downtown in Midland Park, where you’ll be minutes from the Beehive. Wave hello to this three-metre-high sculpture which pays homage to one of Wellington’s most famous literary heroines, Katherine Mansfield.
Second stop—John Plimmer and his dog, Fritz
Artists: Tom Tischler, Ross Wilson, Judy Alexander
Make your way down Lambton Quay towards Farmers Department Store. Take in the sights and sounds of Wellington’s biggest shopping area, and maybe poke your nose into a few shops along the way.
You’ll find John Plimmer and his dog awaiting you on the other side of the road, 450m down the road from Midland Park. Mr Plimmer was an English settler and entrepreneur known as “the Father of Wellington”.
Third stop—Te Aho a Māui
Artist: Rewi Thompson
Continue in the same direction, and follow the road around the bend (a slight right) onto Willis Street. Turn left onto Chews Lane, then right onto Victoria Street. You should see Wellington City Libraries—Civic Square is located behind the Libraries.
The artwork refers to the Māori creation myth, Māui. In the myth, the story’s protagonist uses a jawbone of an ancestor as a fishhook, and catches a great fish. This giant fish became the North Island of New Zealand.
According to Wellington Sculptures Tour’s website, Te Aho a Māui represents a mountain split in two. There is a gap between the two sections representing Māui’s fishing line.
You’ll notice that your surroundings start to change here, as downtown Wellington begins to merge with the Waterfront area.
Fourth stop—Solace in the Wind
Artist: Max Patte
Follow the City to Sea bridge towards the water and take a right turn onto Wellington Waterfront Walk. Keep following this walking path for about 10 minutes and enjoy the sights and sounds of the Waterfront.
Solace in the Wind (otherwise known as The Naked Man) is located directly behind Te Papa. If you keep following the water, you can’t miss it.
Since its arrival in 2008, this sculpture by Max Patte has become an iconic part of the city and is well-visited by tourists and locals alike.
Fifth stop—The Bucket Fountain
Designers: Burren and Keen
The Cuba Street Bucket Fountain isn’t a sculpture in the typical sense, but its status as an all-time Wellington favourite has earned it a rightful place on this list.
This landmark draws a regular crowd for its quirks and is no ordinary fountain—watch out for sudden dumpings of water onto the surrounding pavement.
A | Woman of Words
B | John Plimmer and his dig, Fritz
C | Te Aho a Māui
D | Solace in the Wind
E | The Bucket Fountain