The Totem Pole was carved in 1959 by Chief Lelooska, a
descendant of a long line of chiefs of the Cherokee Nation. It is a
smaller replica of a similar pole in Portland Oregon and was a gift
to the people of Christchurch from the Oregon Centennial Commission
and the Portland Zoological Society, in appreciation of hospitality
given to personnel of Operation Deep Freeze.
It was shifted from Hagley Park to its current location in 1980.
The totem pole has not undergone any maintenance during its three
decades at the airport and recent inspection by a timber
conservator indicated the paint work and wood require some
Christchurch Airport CEO Jim Boult says CIAL staff have been in
contact with the descendants of Chief Lelooska and had their
approval for a Maori (Waitaha Whanau) powhiri to be carried out
prior to the removal.
He says the airport company will also provide a transcript and
photos of the ceremony to the appropriate First Nations
representative and notify the Oregon Centennial Commission and
Portland Zoological Society progress of the conservation work.
The totem pole will eventually be re-positioned closer to the
International Antarctic Centre and the base of the American
Antarctic Programme, which has had strong links with Christchurch
Airport for more than 50 years.