A teacher at a school next to a Wellington sculpture badly damaged by a lightning strike today says it sounded like an explosion and made the windows shake.
The strike split the top of the 33-metre-high zephyrometer, or wind wand, and started a small fire near its centre about 2.30pm.
Wellington City Council workers have cordoned off the area around the sculpture and say the damage appears irreparable.
Douglas Walker, who teaches at St Patrick's College, says he heard a bang and looked out the window to see smoke at the top of the needle. He says he'll be using the strike as an example with his physics students tomorrow.