by Chris Tobin
Captain Cain received a spruce-up last week.
The much-photographed statue outside the Landing Service Building received a top-up of paint for his boots and coat from the man who created the metal-fibreglass artwork, Don Paterson.
“I was passing through and decided to give him a tidy up,” Mr Paterson, who lives in Akaroa, said.
“I’ve got to keep him looking right.”
The statue is a popular attraction for visitors to Timaru, especially Asian tourists who regularly sit down beside Captain Cain to be photographed with him.
Mr Paterson said he had just completed a statue of Thomas Hanmer, which is now standing in Hanmer Springs, the town which was named after him.
“I’ve got around 30 statues around the country and about half a dozen lined up.
“I used to have to chase the work but now I don’t have that worry any more. I’ve got more work than I’ve ever had.”
Mr Paterson has been commissioned to create a statue of Ted d’Auvergne which will stand outside the Waihao Forks Hotel.
“I’ve started sculpting it, which will be my third war memorial; I’ve got one in Fairlie and the other is in Nelson.”
The statue is to commemorate Waihao Forks farmer Ted d’Auvergne who left an unopened bottle of beer in the local pub awaiting his return from serving as a soldier in World War 2.
Mr d’Auvergne never returned and died serving in Greece. His bottle of beer still sits in the bar of the pub.
Mr Paterson said it was important to get the details for the statue right and while photos existed of Mr d’Auvergne he would appreciate it if any others could be located to assist him.
The Timaru District Council bought the Captain Cain statue in 1999. It commemorates a former sea captain, Captain Henry Cain, who managed and owned the landing service building.
Captain Cain became the second mayor of Timaru but came to a sad end, fatally poisoned by his son-in-law, Thomas Hall.
He died on January 29, 1886.