Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


The Case for Restoring the Christchurch Cathedral

The Case for Restoring Rather than Destroying the Christchurch Cathedral

Jacqui McCabe
1st March 2013

Following the High Court (Justice Chisholm J) ruling that no further destruction of the Christchurch Cathedral should take place until further consideration and consultation between the Church Property Trustees (CPT), the Great Christchurch Buildings Trust (GCBT) and the Court, has taken place, the GCBT has endeavoured to work with the CPT and the Bishop, to reach an agreement on how the Cathedral can be restored.

The eleven point plan sent in a letter to the Bishop (see attached), was only one of our positive and constructive attempts to assist, all of which have been rejected.

The strong stand that the GCBT has taken towards saving and restoring the Cathedral has not been done because of some vague sense of nostalgia for past glories, but a fierce commitment to the history and heritage of Christchurch, which, as a result of a natural catastrophe, lies in ruins all around us.

We have lost so many of our iconic heritage buildings that it is critical that we strenuously defend those that are left, and the Cathedral stands as a stark and almost lone reminder of what was, and what could still be, an exceptional part of this city's, and indeed New Zealand's, cultural, religious and historic heritage. Its constant presence throws doubt on the quality of the opinion of those who said that the Cathedral was in imminent danger of collapse and shows that taking time over some demolition decisions can lead to more constructive alternatives being available.

The people of Christchurch have shown the world what resilient, courageous and caring citizens they are. Our social, economic and community needs as a city are enormous and we must of course, ensure that essential services such as housing, education, health and infrastructure are available and maintained. As part of its programme of work, the GCB Trust has been involved in helping to solve the problems faced by home owners in the TC3 zones and is working closely with a number of companies who are about to embark on a pilot programme of high quality but low cost social housing.

But future generations of Cantabrians will not thank us if we do not make every attempt possible to preserve the legacy of architectural, religious and cultural heritage that the Christchurch Cathedral so strongly represents.

We acknowledge the desire of Church leaders to meet the spiritual needs of their Anglican community and their wider mission objectives. However, we also believe these can be met through a restored Cathedral which contains and embodies much of our history and heritage. It is not a ruin, can be viably restored, and is uniquely positioned to be the 'spiritual home' of the city and province.

Independent reports from internationally reputable engineers, supported by the Church's own engineering advisers, show clearly that from an engineering point of view, the Cathedral can be restored. We therefore fervently hope that the Bishop and the CPT will agree to join with us to restore rather than replace the Cathedral.

As a result of further information received from engineers to the earthquake proofing done on the Cathedral in the 1990’s, The GCBTrust commissioned a further report from independent, internationally reputable engineers. This report confirmed that the restoration is both achievable and able to meet the highest standards of seismic strengthening required of a public building. It is supported by detailed drawings of the methodologies to be used to make safe and reconstruct the Cathedral with maximum retention of the existing building.

Their report, (see attached), shows that the full restoration of the Cathedral is:

• Feasible from a construction point of view.
• Capable of complying with all the requirements of the building code.
• Would satisfy all the health and safety requirements of CERA and Building Construction regulatory authorities.

Costings for these plans will be available within the next week or so.

Around the world there are many resources available to us to achieve the restoration of this unique heritage icon. All we have to do is to make the decision to restore it and the help will come. There could be no more fitting memorial to those who have died in this terrible tragedy than for the restoration of such a symbol of faith and hope as is represented by this proud Cathedral, the architect of which, George Gilbert Scott, is of international repute.

We will only get one chance to honour both the history of those who have gone before us and future generations of our city's citizens. We should not shirk our responsibility to seize it.


© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Werewolf: ‘Disruption’ Is For Losers

Disruption – anarchic, dynamic, table-tipping, mould-breaking, consensus-shattering disruption – has become part of every corporate bout of auto-hype to the faddish point where the term has lost any useful meaning it might once have had. More>>


Werewolf: Coney Island (And The Trumps), Baby

Like much of that part of the coast, and given the storm surges of Hurricane Sandy, Coney Island should be occupied only by clumps of grass and seabirds. Instead there are 60,000 people in multi-storey apartment buildings living among the faded remnants of a once-spectacular fantasyland.. More>>


Gordon Campbell:
On Corbyn, Trump And Outsider Politics

Jeremy Corbyn elevated to the leadership of Britain’s Labour Party! Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders on the rise in the US… On both sides of the Atlantic, these are dark days for the political Establishment. More>>


Operation Chrysalis: A New Beginning For Scoop

On December 19th 2014 the Scoop Team set out on a project called "Operation Chrysalis". We decided to turn Scoop's 16 year old online news publishing business into a new kind of news business, one connected directly to its readers, owned by a not-for-profit and based on a new business model. More>>


Keith Rankin: The Economy - What's It For?

I re-watched the Q+A 'immigration debate' screenedon 23 August. In light of recent events, the discussion already seems very dated. The underlying assumptions were that the economy is a system in which production growth is pretty much the sole objective, and that migration policy must serve this end of output maximisation... More>>

Until Dawn: Pick Your Own Horrible Adventure

Suppermassive Games’ Until Dawn sees a group of dumb sexy teenagers take a trip to a spooky mansion atop a mountain. It is, obviously, a horror game. However, the game is so ridiculous it turns out to be more of a comedy. Until Dawn begins with ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news