Our Lady of Lourdes - Paraparaumu. New Zealand.
S 40° 55.040 E 175° 00.650
60G E 332494 N 5468514
Quick Description: Overlooking Paraparaumu, north of Wellington, is an enormous white statue of Our Lady of Lourdes. Motorists heading south into the township can’t miss seeing the 14 metre prominent landmark.
Location: North Island, New Zealand
Date Posted: 6/20/2009 9:04:36 PM
Waymark Code: WM6MD3
Who is Our Lady of Lourdes?
This "Our Lady of Lourdes" statue was commissioned by Fr Jack Dunn in 1958 to mark the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary to Bernadette Soubirous, a 14-year-old peasant in Lourdes, in southern France. Bernadette proclaimed that Mary appeared to her on 18 occasions, from February 11 to July 16 1858.
On 11 February 1858, Bernadette Soubirous went to collect some firewood and bones in order to be able to buy some bread. When she took off her shoes to wade through the water near the Grotto of Massabielle, she heard two wind noises (coups de vent) but the trees and bushes nearby did not move. She saw a light in the grotto where a figure appeared as a young lady wearing a white veil, a blue girdle and with a golden rose on each foot. She was also holding a string of rosary beads. On 25 February, Bernadette was asked to drink from the water, which at first was rather muddy, but became increasingly clean. It wasn’t until the figure of the young lady appeared for the 17th time on March 25 that she identified herself as the Immaculate Conception, and the faithful believed her to be the Blessed Virgin Mary. As the word spread, the grotto water was given to medical patients of all kinds, after which numerous miracle cures were reported. After much controversy regarding these "miracles" the government barricaded the Grotto and issued stiff penalties for anybody trying to get near the off-limits area. On 16 July, Bernadette went a last time to the Grotto to see the young lady saying "I have never seen her so beautiful before". The Church, which so far was highly critical during the whole process, faced with nation-wide questions, decided to institute an investigative commission on 17 November 1858. Finally, on 18 January 1860, the local bishop declared: The Virgin Mary did appear indeed to Bernadette Soubirous in the Grotto of Massabielle at Lourdes.
The Statue at Paraparaumu:
Standing at 14 metres on a 75 metre high hill exposed to bone chilling winds, the statue was created by Martin (Martinus Wouterous) Roestenburg out of plaster and wood. Dutch artist Martin Roestenberg made the two-metre head in his Taihape home while the body with its four-metre-wide shoulders was made on site. The massive hollow structure with its internal staircase is one of the largest of its kind in the world. Seventeen bulbs light up the halo at night. At the base of the statue are the words ‘I am the Immaculate Conception’.
Completed over 6 months, in August 1958, the official blessing of the statue was in October of that year and a large crowd gathered to celebrate the feat, and their faith.
Archbishop McKeefry blessed the statue on October 19 before 6000 people, including 1000 who had traveled by train from Auckland.
Walking Access to Statue:
A short walking track from Tongariro Street leads to the statue on the hill top. Through the trees which shelter the base of the statue there are views of Paraparaumu and Kapiti Island.
Associated Religion(s): Catholic
Statue Location: Paraparaumu.
Entrance Fee: 0
Artist: Martin (Martinus Wouterous) Roestenburg
Website: [Web Link]
Take a picture of the statue. A waymarker and/or GPSr is not required to be in the image but it doesn't hurt.