19 Feb 2015

Displaced statue returns to Cathedral Square

11:57 am on 19 February 2015

A displaced resident of Cathedral Square has been returned to its familiar plinth, with the statue of John Robert Godley, founder of the Canterbury settlement, reinstated in the central city.

Statue of John Robert Godley.

Statue of John Robert Godley. Photo: RNZ

The bronze two-metre statue suffered damage in the Christchurch earthquakes and was re-installed today having undergone extensive conservation work.

Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel said the Godley Statue was a Canterbury treasure and had always been a significant landmark in Cathedral Square.

During the February 2011 earthquake the statue fell off its plinth, suffering damage to the limbs and head.

Christchurch City Council Parks Unit Manager Andrew Rutledge said the damage sustained to the statue's head, flattening the top of it, was too risky to repair, but that decision may be reviewed if new methods became available.

The Godley Statue had the highest possible protection rating, Group One, in the City Plan and a Category One listing with Heritage New Zealand.

During the conservation process a moulding hammer was found preserved inside the bronze statue. The hammer will be in storage while its future location was 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

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