Police have recovered a cherished statue of Jesus, more than a decade after it was stolen from a Wellington chapel.

The mahogany statue was stolen from the Futuna Chapel in Karori sometime between 1999 and 2000. It was found on an unoccupied rural property in Ahititi, Taranaki on Wednesday.

Detective Senior Sergeant Warwick McKee said the statue by sculptor Jim Allen holds significant importance to the Catholic community and Wellington as a whole.

The recovery of the statue had delighted the congregation of Futuna Chapel.


"It's expected that the statue will be returned to the Futuna Chapel next week so it can be re-erected in its rightful place on the walls of the chapel."

Police were still trying to establish who was responsible for the theft of statue, which is about 160cm tall and made from laminated mahogany.

Hawkes Bay architect John Scott was commissioned by the Society of Mary to design a chapel for their spiritual retreat in Karori in 1958.

Built by the Brothers of the society themselves, Futuna Chapel opened in 1961.

The Society of Mary sold the Futuna complex to developers in 2000 and it was turned into residential units.

- Herald Online and APNZ