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Buckets of fun planned for Cuba Mall 50th birthday

Media release

Friday 4 October

Next week sees the start of celebrations for Cuba Mall’s golden anniversary, and 50 years of the iconic Bucket Fountain splashing unwitting bystanders – and everyone’s invited.

On 12 October 1969, Cuba Mall was the site of long hair, flares, and brown hued jackets – and that was just the officials!

As the first pedestrianised street in New Zealand, the official launch of Cuba Mall and the turning on of the Bucket Fountain was done with much fanfare led by Mayor Frank Kitts – despite torrential rain.

To celebrate this momentous anniversary, we’re planning some fun activities online and around the neighbourhood.

Council’s City Archives has been rummaging around their treasure trove for some highlights from the era, including images and plans for the area, which we’ll be incorporating into the festivities.

There’ll be flags along Cuba Mall, images on screens, and the local businesses are joining the party by dressing their stores and getting their groove on.

There’ll be lots of activity through our social media channels, including archival images, videos, competitions and prizes – so keep an eye on wellington.govt.nz/cuba-50 for all you need to know.

History of Cuba Mall and Bucket Fountain

Following the phasing out of trams in 1967, Cuba Street became temporarily pedestrianised. This proved to be a revenue winner for local businesses, who went on to petition Council for the layout to become a permanent fixture.

‘Cubacade’ was launched in 1969, based on similar malls around the world, which were designed to encourage shopping as a pleasurable experience, rather than a chore.

The Bucket Fountain was installed to coincide with the launch of ‘Cubacade’. Originally named the ‘water mobile’, this playful kinetic sculpture was created by Burren and Keen, and Graham Allardice, as part of the Cuba Mall development – and is now recognised as one of Wellington’s most famous landmarks.


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