Part of a light exhibition in Wellington's botanic garden that was created by Massey University students has been stolen in broad daylight.
The exhibition, made up of LED lights embedded within large acrylic cubes, and connected to six transformers, went missing between 10am and 4pm on Friday.
Three of the nine cubes on display were stolen, as well as the transformers.
The remainder of the exhibition could not operate unless the transformers were replaced.
The display was part of the Meridian Gardens Magic music and lights festival, and was created by four fourth-year design students from Massey University.
Lecturer Antony Nevin said the theft was incredibly disappointing.
"Sometimes you put stuff in a public environment - even in a semi-controlled environment - and people see it as free, and therefore somehow they have a right to take it or vandalise it.
"One of the students said to me, 'What do we have to do, do we have to make this just out of concrete?'"
Mr Nevin said the students spent more than a month working on the exhibition.
He said the council had been very supportive in encouraging the students to get involved, and it was a bitter pill to swallow.
A police spokesperson said the stolen gear was worth about $3000, and police were making enquiries into the incident.
They encouraged anyone with any information to come forward.