WELL_NGTON is a sculptural sign for Instagram-able times

The giant sculptural Wellington sign on the waterfront presents new and unique photo opportunities for locals and visitors alike as they physically become a part of Wellington

The WELL_NGTON sculpture is missing the letter I. One person at a time can stand on a platform to replace the letter so they are physically part of the sign and can literally say ‘I am in Wellington’. It is likely to be one of Capital’s Instagram-able moments of the year.

The official hashtag to use when posting photos is #inwellington.

Commissioned by WellingtonNZ, the sculpture was designed and built entirely in Wellington. It sits just over 2.2 metres high and 8.9 metres wide. Each letter weighs between 80 and 120kg. WELL_NGTON will be temporarily positioned on the waterfront side of Te Papa near Chaffers Marina from 19 January.

WellingtonNZ Acting General Manager Josh Gardiner says the sign is designed to foster a feeling of  ‘I belong in Wellington’ and create photo-sharing fun that, via social media, showcases the capital to the world.

“It not only provides visitors to the city with a great shareable memento of their time here but also gives proud locals the chance to star in their own photos to share with friends and whānau.”

“It is also a part of Wellington welcoming back visitors impacted by border restrictions including those from Auckland who make up the city’s largest domestic visitor market. But no matter where our visitors come from, we can’t wait to roll out the welcome mat – or sculpture in this case.”

Currently painted in three colours – yellow, red and teal – Mr Gardiner says that situation is far from permanent.

“WELL_NGTON is designed so it can be repainted and relocated to other beautiful Wellington sites. It may also be used to support major events occurring in the city.”

It not only provides visitors to the city with a great shareable memento of their time here but also gives proud locals the chance to star in their own photos to share with friends and whānau.

Josh Gardiner - Acting Marketing General Manager, WellingtonNZ

Wellington Mayor Andy Foster says the interactive sculpture is a fun way for Wellingtonians to put themselves in the big picture for their city. 

“There is so much happening right across the Creative Capital in our galleries, theatres, cafes, shows and restaurants, and on our tracks and the waters of Te Whanganui a Tara. Little wonder then that we want to fill this picture of Wellington with as many friends and family as possible.”

Local art and directing collective The Glue Society are the designing brains behind the sculpture. Artist and Project Director Pete Baker says ensuring people could add to the buzz of Wellington was upper mind in the design.

“Wellington and the people that love it are at the very heart of this public artwork - from the locations it will be installed in and the name it spells out to the people who become part of the artwork itself. We love to create projects which the audience can engage in and participate in. We hope this work will inspire both optimism and joy.”

The sculpture was manufactured and installed by Wellington company Human Dynamo under supervision of The Glue Society.

The budget for the project was $130,000. It includes design, manufacture, initial installation, two reskins of the sign as well as removal from the waterfront and installation at a different location.

About the sculpture

  • Engineered to withstand the worst of Wellington’s weather
  • Constructed using hard-wearing boat building techniques
  • Materials used include canalised plywood with a galvanised steel base connecting each letter that are dyna-bolted to the ground
  • Each letter has internal steel brackets designed to transfer the load
  • Letters coated with dura tea polyester paint and a coloured top-coat
  • Future iterations can be painted a different colour or have new vinyl designs

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