Christchurch’s Totem Pole is back

Christchurch's Totem Pole is back on Memorial Avenue.

The totem pole had stood at the roundabout outside Christchurch Airport for more than 30 years, until it was removed in June last year for conservation work recommended by a timber conservator.

Over the past year , the totem pole has had preservation work done on both the timber and the paintwork, with permission from descendants of the Cherokee Chief who carved it in 1959.

The totem pole was a gift from the Oregon Centennial Commission and the Portland Zoological Society in appreciation of hospitality shown to Operation Deep Freeze personnel. It originally stood in Little Hagley Park and moved to the airport in 1980. CIAL has maintained contact with Chief Lelooska's descendants and had their permission to remove and restore the totem pole.

• The Totem Pole of Friendship was carved in 1959 by Indian Chief Lelooska, a descendant of a long line of chiefs of the Cherokee Nation. It is a smaller replica of a similar pole in the zoological gardens in Portland, Oregon. It stands 9m high and weighs 545 kg.

• Each of the figures on it are symbolic, with the Thunderbird at the top honouring airmen who made the first supply drop at the South Pole in October 1956.