Statue 'facing wrong way' in Hokitika

Hokitika historian Max Dowell says the statue itself is completely facing in the wrong direction. Photo / Hokitika Guardian
Hokitika historian Max Dowell says the statue itself is completely facing in the wrong direction. Photo / Hokitika Guardian

The 102-year-old Pioneer Statue, re-sited this week in Hokitika, is now facing a different direction than the original and the Westland District Council says it is satisfied with the finished job.

Jacquie Grant, who led the statue removal project, insists it is on the correct axis because she took GPS co-ordinates, and that it will become clearer when the missing arm is reattached.

However, Hokitika historian Max Dowell says the statue itself is completely facing in the wrong direction.

Mr Dowell said the statue erected in Fitzherbert Street in 1914 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the gold rushes originally pointed north-east towards the goldfields, looking straight along Fitzherbert Street.

Now it was looking towards the town clock, straight along Weld Street.

"GPS only gives you a location, it doesn't give you a direction. It doesn't sit correctly on the plinth.

The whole thing from the plinth up has been built at the incorrect angles," Mr Dowell said.

On the original site the base was parallel to Fitzherbert Street and lined up with Stafford Street, which was a right-angle corner.

"Now it's a 90-degree angle and that's where she's gone wrong.

"I think it's a totally amateur, shoddy job that's been done."

Mr Dowell said he wanted to see it put right.

"There are a lot of people angry about it."

However, Ms Grant said she had been fielding positive comments.

She stood by the positioning.

"It's the hand that points at the goldfields, not the statue."

Ms Grant said the arm came around the statue at a right angle.

"When his hand goes on it will pointing north-east, towards Goldsborough and the goldfields.

"If we put him any other way he would be pointing towards the sea or Mount Cook.

"What's confused the whole thing is that Tancred Street and Fitzherbert Street don't run exactly parallel.

"When it was in Fitzherbert Street it was square on the footpath to get it to face in the right position.

"Now the points are diagonal in the middle of the road and that changes how it looks to the eye, but it doesn't change the position.

"It's hand will be pointing in the same place," Ms Grant said.

Council district assets group manager Vivek Goel said they had been assured the statue was pointing in the right direction.

"Its been GPS-ed and we've been assured the arm will be put on in the next few days.

"In my view, the project has been delivered and it's looking good," Mr Goel said.

It is understood the monument was built to face north-east in the direction of the first discovery of payable gold at the Greenstone diggings in 1864.

- Hokitika Guardian

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