Public Sculpture Pulverized by Lightning Strike

Iconic Zephyrometer left "completely stuffed" by brutal storm.

Phil Price's Zephyrometer (2004).
Photo: Piet Vermeulen/Flickr.

Phil Price’s Zephyrometer (2004).
Photo: Crys/Flickr.

Artist Phil Price‘s 108-foot-tall sculpture Zephyrometer (2004), which sits alongside Evans Bay in Wellington, New Zealand, was completely destroyed by a direct lightning strike on Thursday. The devastating bolt, which was caught on video (embedded below), instantly incinerated the pointy, articulated sculpture, leaving it “completely stuffed,” as Richard MacLean, a spokesman for Wellington city council, told the Dominon Post.


Phil Price’s Zephyrometer (2004) after the lightning strike.
Photo: Via Wikimedia Commons.

“When the sparks had cleared you could see it was all split and burnt down the sides,” said 11-year-old witness Harriette Boucher.

The capital of New Zealand was slammed by a storm on Thursday afternoon that also caused traffic light outages. But when the skies cleared the Zephyrometer had been put permanently out of commission.


Phil Price’s Zephyrometer (2004).
Photo: Piet Vermeulen/Flickr.

The locally beloved Zephyrometer was made of steel, carbon fiber, epoxy, ball bearings, and concrete, and commissioned from the Christchurch-based artist by New Zealand energy giant Meridian Electricity. Price designed it to sway in the wind so as to serve as a giant weather vane, which is exactly why Atom Emet, the man who shot the video of the destructive lightning strike and an avid cyclist, will be missing it.

“It’s pretty useful for me so I’m a fan of it,” Emet said.

Watch video of the lightning strike that destroyed the Zephyrometer:

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