The small Waitaki town of Kurow needs 175,000 Richie McCaw fans to help erect a bronze statue of the All Blacks great, right where he kicked off his legendary career.

It was hoped the life-sized statue of the most capped test rugby player of all time would bring economic growth and more visitors to the Waitaki Valley.

McCaw grew up in the Hakataramea Valley just across the Waitaki River from Kurow where he began playing rugby for the local club.

The McCaw family spans several generations in the Hakataramea area.

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Lyttelton sculptor Mark Whyte took on the job to create the statue when the money was raised.

Waitaki artist and sculptor Don Paterson was originally marked for the job but he was kicked to touch after a statuette meant to illustrate the planned pose of McCaw drew widespread criticism on social media.

Last year, Whyte met with McCaw to measure and sketch him.

Kurow-local Bob Watherston had a dream to erect the bronze statue of the world's greatest rugby player.

The former chairman of the Statue Project Committee passed away in November last year, missing out on seeing his dream fulfilled.

Committee secretary Jocelyn McIlraith said McCaw was currently represented in the town by a cardboard cutout, which she said drew people into the Waitaki Valley daily.

McCaw is currently represented in the small Waitaki town by a 4 meter tall cardbaord cutout. Photo / Hamish Mclean
McCaw is currently represented in the small Waitaki town by a 4 meter tall cardbaord cutout. Photo / Hamish Mclean

The committee has proposed to locate the statue in the centre of Kurow.

"It is going to benefit local businesses. It will bring people through the district and will result in economic growth."

Along with the Waitaki Valley community, Watherston's daughter Chrissy Watherston was picking up the slack and has created a Givealittle page, asking for the public's help.

Watherston asked for 175,000 of McCaw's fans to pitch in and donate $1 to help get the statue project over the line.

Lyttelton sculptor Mark Whyte has been tasked with creating a 2.4m bronze statue of McCaw. Photo / Martin Woodhall
Lyttelton sculptor Mark Whyte has been tasked with creating a 2.4m bronze statue of McCaw. Photo / Martin Woodhall

"The Kurow community is keen to honour this rugby great. He is a terrific role model, showing how great dedication leads to great success."

"We invite you to assist in erecting a statue to honour him in the rural community where his rugby career began."

Around $7500 has already been raised by the Richie McCaw Statue Committee and Meridian Energy donated $15,000 to the cause.

"Dad wanted everyone to be able to come and see Richie's statue, reflect and celebrate his greatness, create some memories and take some photos," Watherston said.