Lost statue of Christ found on farm

Karori's lost statue of Christ found on farm

Last updated 16:24 31/08/2012
Christ Statue
Mark Round
This statue of Christ missing from the Futuna Chapel in Karori for more than 12 years has been found on a Taranaki farm.

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Wellington police have found Jesus - in Taranaki.

An historic mahogany statue of Christ which was stolen from Futuna Chapel in Karori was recovered this week in rural Taranaki after it was missing for more than 12 years.

The statue - which was in pride of place on the wall of the Futuna Chapel until it was stolen in 1999 or 2000 - was recovered from an empty rural property in Ahititi, Taranaki on Wednesday.

The life-size figure of Jesus on the cross went missing around the time the chapel was sold by its former owners the Society of Mary to housing developers.

Friends of Futuna Charitable Trust chair Nick Bevin said the trust had been working with Detective Kevin Dillon to find the statue for the last couple of years.

"We had it mentioned on the radio a couple of years back. A member of the public heard that, put two and two together, and that enabled the police to make the recovery.

"It was an excellent bit of detective work from Mr Dillon. It will be great to have it back."

Detective Senior Sergeant Warwick McKee, of the Wellington CIB, said the statue was specifically made for the Futuna Chapel by sculptor Jim Allen.

"[It] holds significant importance to the Friends of Futuna Charitable Trust, the Catholic community and the Wellington community as a whole.

"It's expected that the statue will be returned to the Futuna Chapel next week so it can be re-erected in its rightful place on the walls of the chapel."

Mr Bevin said the trust was not planning to lay any complaints or seek reparations over the stolen statue, as they were just pleased to have it coming home.

"It is simply the network of the trust, and its trustees and patrons talking with people. Things started to line up and it's simply a good news story that it's been found."

The trust hoped to have the statue returned on Thursday, and were planning a ceremony with local iwi, the sculptor and patrons of Futuna.

"I'm expecting there will be a need for some sort of ceremony or ritual. It was stolen and missing for 12 years, so it will need to go through a figurative cleansing process.

Police inquiries were continuing regarding the theft.

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- The Dominion Post

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