Possum Bourne statue quietly removed

The larger-than-life bronze statue of rally driver Possum Bourne that stood on a hillside overlooking the Cardrona Valley for the past eight years has been taken to the North Island.

Valley residents Mary and John Lee said the statue was moved over Labour Weekend while they were away and Mr Lee said they were sad it had been taken without them being advised.

"We would like to have said farewell."

The man behind the move, former Race to the Sky hill climb event director Grant Aitken would not tell the Otago Daily Times where the statue was but in July announced it was to be moved to a prominent place in Mr Bourne's hometown of Pukekohe.

The proposed move drew comments from some rally enthusiasts who believed it should remain in the Cardrona Valley.

Mr Aitken has been critical of the ODT for reporting those views.

"We're disappointed with the negative spin on it. It's the wishes of the family and that's the deal."

He noted the statue's removal had gone unreported for more than a fortnight.

"It's kind of interesting that there was so much local concern about it going away, supposedly, that it's been unnoticed.

"It's kind of comical really."

The statue was erected in 2004, the year after Mr Bourne died from injuries he received in a crash on the Snow Farm access road before the 2003 event.

mark.price@odt.co.nz