William Rolleston Statue
Rolleston Avenue, Christchurch
List Entry Information
List Entry Status
List Entry Type
Historic Place Category 2
Private/No Public Access
26th November 1981
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.
British sculptor and artist Herbert Hampton (1862-1929) was educated at Cardiff School of Art, Lambeth School of Art, Westminster School of Art, the Slade and then the Académies Julien and Colarossi, Paris. He exhibited 55 sculptures at the Royal Academy between 1889 and 1927. He was known as a successful creator of public memorials – he created six statues of Queen Victoria, one of Edward VII and one of King George.
His two New Zealand works are the Queen Victoria statue in Dunedin, and the statue of William Rolleston (List No. 1946, Category 2) in Christchurch.
1905 - 1906
15th August 2001
Report Written By
Geoffrey W. Rice, Christchurch Changing: An Illustrated History, Christchurch, 1999
Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.