A 70kg sculpture of early tourism pioneer Camille Malfroy, which was removed from the Government Gardens in Rotorua in February has been found by Police.
Thanks to some extensive enquiry work, with the help of CCTV and information from the public, Rotorua Police have located the damaged sculpture.
The partially damaged sculpture has now been returned to Rotorua Lakes Council.
Senior Sergeant Karl Konlechner, Rotorua Area Prevention Coordinator says “Police were absolutely stoked to recover the statue of Camille Malfroy. I applaud the perseverance of Sergeant Glen Martin and his team in tracking down the offender and recovering the statue.
“What made everyone’s day was being able to meet with sculptor George Andrew and see his delight in being reunited with his work. We are pleased to return the work to the Rotorua Lakes Council and I am sure they are pleased that Mr Malfroy is back home, albeit with a few battle scars and a story to tell.”
The artist and sculptor George Andrews is “delighted” to see the artwork again and even more pleased that despite part of it being removed, the head and face is in a reasonably good condition.
“It’s a lot better than I expected. It’s still quite a bit of work to repair it but I’m really happy.”
Rotorua Lakes Council Community Wellbeing Deputy Chief Executive Anaru Pewhairangi says, “we are very pleased to see the return of the sculpture. We want to thank Rotorua Police for the work they did in getting the sculpture returned. Since the theft, we have increased our council patrols in and around Government Gardens and the CBD to deter any similar offending.”
A local man aged in his 50s has been arrested and charged with theft, and was due to appear before the Rotorua District Court today.