An event to celebrate the re-erection of one of Virginia Lake's most significant landmarks has been postponed a second time due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The landmark, a 7.5m steel sculpture with engraved designs by Whanganui artist Cecelia Kumeroa, was set for erection and official opening on Friday, September 18, after being postponed earlier in the year but has been rescheduled for October 9.

Virginia Lake Trust chairman Terry Coxon said the postponement was due to significant interest in the unveiling of the sculpture, meaning the event would likely be over the 100-person restriction on gatherings at alert level 2.

"There has been a great deal of interest in this event, particularly from the wide and extensive McGregor whanau as well as the public, such as well over 100 attendees were expected," Coxon said.


The waka sculpture is to replace a historic landmark at the site, first erected after the death of Pura McGregor, a leading citizen of Whanganui in the early 1900s. After McGregor's death in 1920, her husband Gregor McGregor erected an 8m-high totara canoe at Virginia Lake in her memory. The landmark remained until 1988, by which point it had rotted and was removed.

Recently, the Virginia Lake Trust decided it was time to replace the former landmark. The trust consulted local kaumatua and lobbied for the new monument, expected to cost $40,000. Of that, $15,000 was donated by the Whanganui Public Art Steering Group and the remainder was raised by the trust.

The official unveiling ceremony will be held at Virginia Lake at 2pm on October 9, with Mayor Hamish McDouall to officially open the monument.