William Rolleston Statue

Rolleston Avenue, Christchurch

  • William Rolleston Statue.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Melanie Lovell-Smith. Date: 1/02/2002.
  • Original image submitted at time of registration. 1981.
    Copyright: NZHPT Field Record Form Collection. Taken By: D Cosgrove.
  • Original image submitted at time of registration. 1981.
    Copyright: NZHPT Field Record Form Collection. Taken By: D Cosgrove.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 1946 Date Entered 26th November 1981 Date of Effect 26th November 1981


City/District Council

Christchurch City


Canterbury Region

Legal description

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.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Hampton, Herbert

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.

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1905 - 1906

Completion Date

15th August 2001

Report Written By

Melanie Lovell-Smith

Information Sources

Rice, 1999

Geoffrey W. Rice, Christchurch Changing: An Illustrated History, Christchurch, 1999

Other Information

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.