The final decision on the future of the controversial Captain Hamilton statue is unlikely to be made until at least March next year.

The bronze statue was removed from Hamilton's Civic Square in June amid threats it would be pulled out during a Black Lives Matter protest and taken to be temporarily stored in a secret council-owned facility.

The quick executive decision split the city with Hamilton mayor Paula Southgate saying she had never received so many threats during her time in politics.

But the statue is likely to remain hidden while the council develops a range of documents and policies relating to matters of cultural significance, according to a report to the Community Committee.

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The programme will include a report, estimated to cost $4000, looking at the options for the future of the Captain Hamilton statue. The report is not earmarked to be presented to council until March next year.

The overall works programme will also include a strategy to support the wellbeing and aspirations of Māori, a heritage plan for the city, a review of current street names and a option for council to change those names and a public art process review.

The total cost of the overall programmed is estimated at $199,000 - with the final report not being received until the end of next year. Many of the projects have already been accounted for in the 20/21 long-term plan.

The council has already received a report into the Hamilton street and city names from Dr Vincent O'Malley but this has not been discussed yet. The research found that while Captain Hamilton was a "minor figure in New Zealand" history other people whose names are on the city's streets such as George Grey were more dominant characters known for being ruthless, manipulative and deceitful.

In a council report to be heard by elected members on Thursday, report author Joanna van Walraven said due to the high level of public interest in the Captain Hamilton statue there was a risk that work programme may "unnecessarily delay a decision about the future of the artwork".

However staff believed "the matters surrounding the statue are complex and the risks involved with rushing a decision outweigh the risks of taking a measured approach".

Hamilton mayor Paula Southgate told the Herald in June the quick executive decision to remove the statue was a temporary measure made because of the threats that it would be attacked.

She said there would be urgent discussions with councillors and the wider public about what they would like to see happen to it long-term. This could include requests around changing the name of the city and some streets.

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