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Historic Place Category 2
Road reserve adjacent to Pt Res 25, Canterbury Land District
This white marble statue commemorates William Rolleston (1831-1903), who was the last superintendent of the province of Canterbury from 1868 to 1876. The New Zealand Constitution Act of 1852 divided New Zealand into six provinces, each governed by an elected superintendent and a provincial council, also elected. These provincial bodies were subordinate to the General Assembly, but had control over local land legislation, education, hospitals, roading, and immigration. As superintendent Rolleston was admired for being reliable, honest and prudent. He had a particular interest in education, and the public school system that developed under him in Canterbury became the basis for the national system of schooling under the 1877 Education Act. The provincial system of government ended in 1876 and thereafter local government was undertaken by various town, borough, road and harbour boards.
The statue of Rolleston was sculpted by an English sculptor, Herbert Hampton, and cost £1,000. Unveiled in May 1906, its position outside the Canterbury Museum acknowledges Rolleston's role in the museum's establishment.
This statue is one of three that commemorate superintendents of Canterbury. (The other two are the statues of J.F. Fitzgerald and William Moorhouse - both also in Rolleston Avenue.) It forms an important part of the historical townscape around the Museum and the Christchurch Arts Centre.
- Original Construction: 1905 (circa) - 1906 (circa)
- Geoffrey W. Rice, Christchurch Changing: An Illustrated History, Christchurch, 1999
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