The Wellington Sculpture Trust


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The iconic sculpture Ferns, by prominent New Zealand artist Neil Dawson, sat above Civic Square for 17 years. The work captures the spirit of Wellington and features in countless photographs, videos, advertising campaigns, and is often used to promote our great city.

Loved by us, and others, we want to return this sculpture to Wellington.


As many of you know, in late 2015 Ferns was taken down. Over its 17 years the sculpture developed structural weaknesses, exacerbated by the Wellington wind. Although it was fixed several times, the Council received professional advice that the work was no longer safe to be suspended, and couldn't be repaired in a way that would last. Since then the Trust, Wellington City Council and artist, Neil Dawson, have been working on a replacement.

Neil took his inspiration for the original Ferns from the natural environment, using the silver ponga fern and four additional varieties of ferns (petako, lace fern, wheki and puniu) to create a suspended globe of delicate lacy fern fronds.

The new Ferns will include a stronger internal structure and be cut from stainless steel, which is more robust.


Funding so far

The full cost of replacing Ferns is $215,000.

The Council is a major funder, however the Trust is helping with fundraising and we need your help.

Donor's gifting $3,000 or more will be recognised on a permanent plaque to be placed near the work in Civic Square.

Any contributor of over $30,000 will be additionally recognised as a principal sponsor, in appropriate ways as agreed.

We are very grateful for the generous support we have already received from the ANZ Bank, a sponsor of the original Ferns, the Wellington Community Trust and the Nikau Foundation. Through these sponsors we have already raised $55,000.


More info

For more information and images of the original Ferns, as well as information on the artist Neil dawson please see our website:


Project images courtesy of Grant Sheehan and Amy Schulz Photography


  • Thank you for your support so far


    Thank you to everyone who has supported the project so far.

    To raise the $215,000 needed for the commission we have put out our hand for help from the wider Wellington community and we are very grateful for those who have answered the call.

    The Trust has also received generous donations from the ANZ Bank, a sponsor of the original Ferns; the Wellington Community Trust; the Nikau Foundation; and other generous individuals.

    You will hear from us again when our fundraising is complete and we will have the pleasure of inviting you to the celebration we will hold when Ferns is re-installed in its rightful place once more.

    In the meantime spread the word among friends, family and colleagues!

    Thank you for your support so far
  • Our Ferns


    Our Ferns
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    Close up
  • Ferns by day


    Ferns by day