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Victoria Square carving to be restored

Victoria Square carving to be restored

The Poupou will be reinstated in Victoria Square

The Christchurch City Council will be temporarily removing Riki Manuel’s Poupou, the six metre high carved wooden post in Victoria Square, to undertake conservation work to return it to its original glory.

The Poupou, which celebrates the presence of Māori in Canterbury, will be moved today to a workshop in Wainoni, where it is expected to spend three weeks being cleaned, its decayed wood treated, and undergo preservation treatment and painting.

The conservation work is expected to cost $13,000.

Master carver Riki Manuel says he is pleased the Council is preserving his work, “Poupou is a significant work, and one I am very proud of. Spiritually, it has stood the test of time well and I’m very pleased the Council is undertaking this work, and it can continue to make an important statement.”

The carving was commissioned in 1994 by the Council in partnership with Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu to commemorate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi at Akaroa.

The Poupou represents ‘Rangi’ and ‘Papa’ of the Māori legend of the Tīmatatanga (‘beginning’) as well as recognising Māori tribes, their ancestors and all the peoples of Christchurch region.
Now twenty years old, the Poupou was carved out of a totara log one metre in diameter donated by a West Coast farmer. Totara is a timber prized for carving.

The Poupou will be reinstated in Victoria Square once Avon River landscaping works have been carried out.

Its location in Victoria Square places it within the early Waitaha settlement, Puari and also means the work stands in close to and on an equal footing with the pākehā statues of Captain Cook and Queen Victoria, which also celebrate key events in the history of Canterbury.

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