A 28-year-old man has been charged with wilful damage over breaking the $300,000 Len Lye scupture on Wellington's waterfront.
The Water Whirler sculpture was snapped in when the man climbed to the top of it.
In a video, Hunter MacDonald apologised and promised to do whatever was required to make amends.
Wellington mayor Justin Lester said while the apology was nice, pursing a civil claim against Mr MacDonald was pointless.
But he would like to see some community service, and a court may decide to force some reparation.
"It's just a really silly act and rightfully Wellingtonians have been very, very disappointed."
The court appearance is due in the next couple of weeks.