Friday, 13 November 2015

Sir Bob Owens and the Statue of Tangaroa


Small casting of Tangaroa statue
Tauranga Heritage Collection 1805/85
Many Tauranga residents will have heard the name Sir Robert Owens. As Mayor of Tauranga from 1968 to 1977 and Mayor of Mount Maunganui from 1971 to 1974 he made a significant contribution to the development of our city.

Arthur Honeyfield and Robert Owens with a small casting of Tangaroa. This casting would later be given to the Tauranga District Museum and remains in the Tauranga Heritage Collection.
Image: Private Collection
Sir Owens was a generous person giving to many people and organisations in need. While those gifts will be remembered by individuals, Sir Owens also made a number of public donations. These include the SS Taioma to the Tauranga Historic Village, and the nine-foot Tangaroa statue at the entrance of the Tauranga harbour. At the time of the statue’s unveiling in April 1976 the Bay of Plenty Times wrote:
“Thanks Bob, it was a fine gesture. The people of Tauranga should be grateful for the time, effort and talent you have given in being Mayor of this city. This gift will be appreciated by all who live here and will certainly be remembered by all who visit this city. There can be no question that you have been an outstanding mayor and the donation of this statue is only further proof of your generosity.”

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