The Queen Victoria Statue is the last stop on the Commonwealth Walkway. She now stands imperiously over the boulevards connecting the Waterfront to The Basin Reserve. This statue was Wellington’s first significant sculpture and was not uncontroversial. It was designed by the British sculptor, Alfred Drury (1856-1944) and unveiled in Post Office Square, near what is now the Wellington Museum, in April 1905. The Governor, Sir William Plunket envisaged it welcoming sea voyagers like the Statue of Liberty in New York. But it interfered with traffic and was moved here in 1911, appropriately at the foot of the eponymously named Mount Victoria.Yet more controversial was Drury’s depiction of the signing of the Treaty of Waitingi, on the Aberdeen granite pedestal. This has been interpreted as representing New Zealand’s colonial past.There are many statues to Queen Victoria in Commonwealth countries, raised after her death and representing her as their Head of State. New Zealand sent troops to help celebrate her Diamond Jubilee in 1897, though the following year, the Queen would not let her grandson, the Duke of York, visit ‘the colony’, as she needed him at home and he was her eventual heir (George V). However, her message recognised ‘the loyal and kind wish of the New Zealanders to see her grandchildren.’
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