Campaign to bring giant metal Richie McCaw statue to Christchurch

Metal McCaw belongs in Christchurch, according to a self-confessed one-eyed Cantabrian.

Chinese sculptor Yang Yi is looking for a home for a 7-metre-tall metal sculpture he created of former All Black and Crusaders captain Richie McCaw. 

Auckland Council does not want it, Kurow (where McCaw grew up) could be interested, but Matt Vannoort believes Yi should look no further than Christchurch.

The Christchurch chemistry teacher has created an online petition calling for the statue to be brought to Christchurch and installed in front of the new stadium, due to open in spring 2024.

Vannoort, 31, who describes himself as a "big time, die hard, one-eyed Canterbury rugby fan" said the statue would look "amazing" outside the new stadium when it was finally built. 

"I think he is an incredible man. He is so humble and so representative of your typical Canterbury bloke. He's a role model to so many people."

Vannoort believed the industrial-looking statue would fit in well in Christchurch with the rebuild going on around it.

"My wife is an art teacher. It is one of the few pieces of art that we could both look at and say 'yeah, that's Christchurch all over'.

"It'll be a huge tourism drawcard to Christchurch."

If the petition gained enough support Vannoort planned to set up an online fundraising campaign to pay for the sculpture to be sent to Christchurch. He was not sure how much it would cost, but wanted to get in touch with Yang.

Vannoort was not asking for Christchurch City Council money because he realised it had a lot on its budget already.

Christchurch NZ marketing, brand and communications general manger Tim Loftus said a statue of McCaw obviously belonged in Christchurch, but he would not comment on whether Christchurch NZ would contribute any money to get it here. 

It was reported earlier this week that the three-tonne statue made of scrap metal was sitting at Yang's studio back in his home city of Shiyan in China. Yang offered to build the sculpture for Auckland Council in 2012, but when the offer was declined he built it anyway.