Unveiling the John Turnbull Thompson statue
Ranfurly 23 Feb 2002
The early days of colonial settlement in this part of New Zealand are not well recorded, and not well marked.
This statue, and the story that lies behind it, is an important bit of Maniototo history, it's a part of our story, and also an important bit of New Zealand history – it's part of the story of all of New Zealand.
Other people will talk about that.
What I'd like to do is spend a couple of minutes talking about is how this statue got here – because that's also an important story, for this community and beyond.
A statue which properly marked the work of Surveyor Thompson has been a personal mission of Edna McAtamney for a long time. She may tell you the story herself, but I would like to pay tribute to her determination and vision.
Things like this don't happen by mistake. Someone – and it's usually just one person – makes them happen. Edna was the someone behind this idea, and the person who made it happen. She's had help – not least from the extended family of Surveyor Thompson, and from Mike Dowling and the community board – but without her it would not have happened.
Take a step back, and this Art Deco weekend is also pretty much Edna's personal creation. Take another step back and the recent re-vitalisation of this whole community is also largely her work, or her ideas.
The key message for me is that individuals with drive and determination, and big ideas, and a good team, can achieve wonders. That's what has happened in this community.
It's exactly appropriate that the focus of that renewal should be a statue that honours someone who also had drive and determination – Surveyor Thompson – and that his statue should be right here in the middle of Ranfurly.
So well done Edna and the people of the Maniototo. Thank you for the opportunity to help mark this signal occasion.
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