Totem Pole restored and repositioned

Christchurch's Totem Pole is again standing 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.

Christchurch Airport CEO Jim Boult says over the past year the totem pole has had considerable preservation work 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," says Mr Boult.

"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 the totem pole to do the work we have done.

"We have kept the descendants updated on the conservation work and will send them photos of the totem pole in its new position."

That new position is on Memorial Avenue, overlooking what will be the airport's Spitfire Square retail development.



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.


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