Sir George Grey Statue
Public Art : Sir George Grey Statue
Sculptor : © Francis John Williamson (1833-1920)
Description : Sir George Grey, the once Governor
and Premier of New Zealand, stands high on a pedestal in his contemporary morning dress, exactly how
he appeared in 1868 . The statue is constructed of marble and its base and pedestal are constructed of
local stone. The steps are made of local scoria and the pedestal is made from Coromandel tonolite.
Unveiled : The Sir George Grey statue was originally
unveiled outside Auckland Town Hall on the intersection of Grey's Avenue and Queen Street in 1904 but was declared
a traffic hazard and relocated to Albert Park in 1922.
Location: The Sir George Grey statue is located in
Albert Park, Auckland, New Zealand.
History of the Sir George Grey Statue : When Grey
died in 1898 a memorial was approved but it wasn't until 1902 that it came to fruition.
Controversy : Sir George Grey statue lost its
head in the 1987 on Waitangi Day during protests against the preceived violations of the Treaty of Waitangi.
Sculptor Roderick Burgess was given the task of replacing it. Hopefully the head should stay put as it is
reinforced with a brass rod and filled with cement.
Trivia : J.H.
Foley designed the pedestal.
Stabilis. Sir George Grey, P.C. K.C. B. Etc 1812-1898
Governor South Australia 1841-45
Governor New Zealand 1845-53
Governor Cape Colony 1854-61
Govenor New Zealand 1861-68
Last Superintendent of Auckland 1875-79
Premier of New Zealand 1877-79
Soldier, statesman, lover of his fellow man, whose wisdom, eloquence and strong personality gave to the
people of this colony a large measure of the liberties they now possess.
E TANGI E TE IWI KI TE MATUA KUA NGARO
KI A HORI KEREI
TE KAI-HAUTU O TE WAKA.
TE WHAKARURU HAU O TE IWI MAORI
I NGA RA I MUA
TE TOKA TU MOANA I AIO
HAERE RA E PA.
TE PUTEA O NGA MAHARA, O NGA KUPU.
MA MURI E MIHI O KOHA KI TE AO
So Who Was George Grey? Sir George Grey (14th April
1812 – 19th September 1898) was born in Lisbon, Portugal. His mother went into labor prematurely after
overhearing that her husband had been killed at the battle of Badajoz. Grey was educated in Surrey, England
and later admitted to the royal miltary college in 1826.
In 1837 Grey tried his hand at exploring without much success. His first expedition was to explore the
north-west Australia from Cape Town which ended badly when the party, which included Lieutenant Lushington, Mr
Walker (a surgeon and naturalist) and two corporals, landed in Hanover Bay and found themselves completely lost. It
didn't help that Grey got himself speared during a fight with Aborigines. After exploring part of Glenelg River,
Grey discovered his wound had formed a nasty abscess, so the party decided to head back to Mauritius in order for
him to recover.
Two years later Grey was back, this time returning to Western Australia where his boats were wrecked at
Gantheaume Bay and they had to walk back to Perth, which was some walk. 483 km/300miles to be exact. Luckily for
the expedition they had Kaiber, a Whadjuk Noongar (aboriginal) who helped them find food and water during their
long journey. On a positive note he did get to learn the Noongar language.
From 1841-1845 Grey became the 3rd Governor of South Australia before heading to the land of the long white
cloud to govern New Zealand. In this position Grey excelled, serving as Governor twice, from 1845 to 1853, and then
again from 1861 to 1868. Grey was instrumental in resolving the bickering and fights between settlers and Māori
over land claims.Grey blamed the disputes in the north on Henry Williams and other missionaries, regarding them as
'no better than land-jobbers' whose desire for land would require 'a large expenditure of British blood and money'.
The Māori grew to respect Grey as he assured them their land rights were safe under the terms of the Treaty of
Grey's second term as Governor didn't prove to be so successful. Grey was pretty much an honory Māori by
that time, often traveling with the chiefs and learning their language. He encouraged the Maori to write down their
traditions, legends and customs so they could be preserved. However in 1863, he launched the Invasion of
Waikato to take control over the Māori agricultural region. This war brought many troops to New Zealand.
In 1868 ,after Grey rufused instructions to organize the return of the regiments ,he was recalled and replaced
by Sir George Bowen.
This little hiccup didn't deter his ambitions and in 1854 he became govenor of Cape Colony (now South
Africa). He was instrumental in setting land aside for the natives to protect them from the white colonists. He
also strongly pushed for a federated South Africa but his proposals fell on deaf ears despite the willingness of
other states. In 1859 he was again recalled back to England but a change in government on his arrival home resulted
in him being given another term in South Africa. During his term, war with Maori broke out in New Zealand and he
was again appointed Governor there. Busy man. The Maori Wars were a result of land fights between the Maori and
Prior to 1860 the Maori still owned most of the land of the North Island, but due to a large increase in the
number of immigrants in the 1850s there was a strong demand for the government to purchase more land.
Understandably many Maori were determined not to sell. However in 1859 Te Teira, a Maori of the Taranaki area, sold
his Waitara River land, without the consent of his tribe, to the colonial government, sparking the first conflict
of the Taranaki War of 1860-61.
The people of Cape Colony were so saddened at Grey's departure they erected a statue at Cape Town in his
honor. He was described as "a governor who by his high character as a Christian, a statesman, and a gentleman, had
endeared himself to all classes of the community, and who by his zealous devotion to the best interests of South
Africa and his able and just administration, has secured the approbation and gratitude of all Her Majesty's
subjects in this part of her dominions"
Grey died in London on 19 September 1898, and was buried in St Paul's Cathedral