Captain Cook Statue Unveiled – 10th August 1932

On 10th August 1932, the statue of Captain James Cook – the first European to do a circumnavigation of New Zealand – was unveiled in Victoria Square by the Governor General, Lord Bledisloe.

Gifted to the city by bookmaker and philanthropist, Matthew Barnett, he launched a competition amongst the Christchurch architects to design a memorial that would acknowledge Cook’s three visits to New Zealand. Sculptor William Tretheway won – already well known for his design of the Citizens’ War Memorial in Cathedral Square.

The first site considered for the statue was outside the Limes Hospital – now the site of the Christchurch Town Hall. But Barnett wanted the statue more central, so to be seen from all directions. It was placed on the Colombo and Armagh Streets corner, very close to where the Queen Victoria Statue now stands.

The Cook Statue was relocated to its current location in 1989 when a revamp of Victoria Square took place. Once bisected by Victoria Street, Victoria Square closed to all traffic and became a pedestrian walk-through.

For a more in depth look at Captain James Cook, please check out the attached link: http://www.peelingbackhistory.co.nz/captain-james-cook-1728-1779/

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