Cathedral Square on Reserve.
This is a two-metre bronze standing figure of John Robert Godley (1814–1861), Resident Chief Agent for the Canterbury Association and the acknowledged ‘Founder of Canterbury’. The statue was originally installed in Cathedral Square in August 1867 and is one of the earliest public statues erected in New Zealand. The bronze statue is the only example of noted Victorian Pre-Raphaelite sculptor Thomas Woolner’s work in New Zealand.
The statue has a Group 1 heritage listing in the Christchurch City Plan and is listed as a Category I historic place(external link) by Heritage New Zealand. This is the highest possible protection rating.
During the February 2011 earthquake the statue fell of its plinth, suffering damage to the limbs and back of the head. The statue was on display in Canterbury Museum and Quake City before being removed for repair on 28 April 2014. Advice was sought from international conservation experts on the best restoration method. Restoration work included strengthening and bronze repairs. During the conservation process a Victorian moulding hammer was found preserved inside the arm of the statue.
The statue was reinstated at Cathedral Square on 18 February 2015.