Rolleston Statue Unveiled – 26th May 1906

On 26th May 1906, the statue to honour the service of the late William Rolleston (pronounced Rolston) was unveiled on Rolleston Ave. It was sculpted by Herbert Hampton.

He had been Canterbury’s fourth and last Superintendent – serving from 1868 to 1877. He was further honoured in 1904 when the northern end of Antigua Street was renamed Rolleston Avenue. This slice was road was chosen to acknowledge Rolleston’s role in the shaping of Canterbury’s educational system through his work with Christ’s College and the Canterbury Museum. His guidelines were still being used by the Canterbury University well into the 1940’s.

His love for education is thanks to his father who told his 9th youngest that he couldn’t immigrate to Canterbury without a trade under his belt. So, Rolleston became a teacher. Upon his arrival at Lyttelton, he became a shepherd and ran his own farm before breaking into Christchurch politics.

The statue was damaged in 22nd February 2011 earthquake, falling off its pedestal to the concrete below, snapping off the head. The head was then stolen but the thief was kind enough to leave his name and contact phone number so the head could be later collected. Happily, the statue is back in its place, with a fitting restatement ceremony which included the attendance of the two youngest Rolleston desendants.

For a more in depth look at William Rolleston, check out the following link:

*image courtesy Kete Christchurch –

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