The statue of John Robert Godley, founder of the Canterbury settlement, has been reinstated in Cathedral Square.
The bronze two-metre statue suffered damage in the Christchurch earthquakes and was re-installed today having undergone extensive conservation work.
“The Godley Statue is a Canterbury treasure and has always been a significant landmark in Cathedral Square,” says Mayor Lianne Dalziel.
"It’s great to see it standing again as another symbol of progress in the rebuild and recovery of the Central City.”
During the February 2011 earthquake the statue fell off its plinth, suffering damage to the limbs and head.
Advice was sought from international conservation experts on the best restoration method prior to work taking place.
Christchurch City Council Parks Unit Manager Andrew Rutledge says the damage sustained to the statue’s head was too risky to repair.
“When the statue fell during the quake it landed on its head, flattening the top of it. Advice from conservation and bronze experts was that trying to round out the bronze may cause further damage to the statue and we were not prepared to take that chance at this point in time. We may review this decision in the future if new methods become available.
The Godley Statue has the highest possible protection rating, Group One, in the City Plan and a Category One listing with Heritage New Zealand. Having it re-installed on Godley Statue Block at Cathedral Square is a fitting tribute,” Mr Rutledge says.
During the conservation process a moulding hammer was found preserved inside the bronze statue. The hammer is currently in storage while its future location is decided.
The Godley Statue was the first portrait statue in New Zealand and for almost 20 years the only statue.
May 1814: John Robert Godley’s birth
August 1867: Godley Statue installed in Cathedral Square on Godley Statue Block
March 1918: Godley Statue moved to a new position north of the Cathedral
April 1933: Godley Statue moved back to original location
February 2011: Godley Statue damaged in Christchurch earthquake
February 2015: Restored Godley Statue erected in Cathedral Square