6 Oct 2017

Quake-damaged Captain Scott statue repaired

8:59 pm on 6 October 2017

The repaired statue of Antarctic explorer Captain Scott has been unveiled in Christchurch this afternoon, after it was badly damaged in the Christchurch earthquakes.

The repaired statue of Antarctic explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott.

The repaired statue of Antarctic explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott. Photo: RNZ / Logan Church

The statue depicted Captain Robert Falcon Scott, who famously died during his second expedition to the South Pole in 1912.

Christchurch was used a base for Captain Scott's final journey.

The 2.5 tonne statue was sculpted by Captain Scott's wife, Kathleen Scott, but took a nose-dive in the Christchurch earthquakes seven years ago after it snapped at the ankles.

Earlier this year, the Christchurch City Council announced it would begin repairing the statue.

This afternoon, the repaired statue was unveiled to a crowd of hundreds of hundreds including politicians, dignities and descendants of Captain Scott at the site of the original statue - alongside the Avon River and Worcester Street.

Captain Scott's great-grandson Dan Asquith was at the unveiling this afternoon, and said his forebear had a special relationship with Christchurch.

"Christchurch was used by both my great-grandfather and Ernest Shackleton as their forward base not only for strategic reasons, but also because of their affection and respect for New Zealand, the city of Christchurch, and its people," he said.

"We are grateful the city still feels this sculpture has relevance and significance.

"It anchors my family to this fabulous land."

The 1917 unveiling of the Scott statue

The 1917 unveiling of the Scott statue Photo: The Weekly Press, from Canterbury Museum's Bishop Collection

Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel said a lot of research went into finding the best way to repair the statue.

As part of the work, the statue's legs were reinforced with carbon fibre and the plinth it stands on now has base isolation.

Ms Dalziel said it was important to ensure the statue retained it heritage value, but also make sure it could survive a future earthquake.

"They even went to the trouble of recreating a statue in the image of the one that is being unveiled, and breaking it and putting it together and testing it," she said.

"It's the most extraordinary story."

The engineer behind the repair, Grant Wilkinson, said the method used to repair the statue was novel.

"It's a technique that's never been used on a statue anywhere in the world, as far as I know," he said.

"The rods give the legs added strength and the tow makes them resilient to the type of shaking that might occur in a big earthquake."

The unveiling of the stature coincided with the start of the Antarctic season, which begins in September/October.

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