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NZHPT Disappointed by Cathedral Decision

2 March 2012

MEDIA RELEASE

NZHPT Disappointed by Cathedral Decision

The New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT) has expressed great disappointment at today’s announcement by Anglican Church leaders to undertake the most destructive of the options under discussion to make safe the Christchurch Cathedral.

“The church’s decision to deconstruct the Cathedral down to sill level or a maximum of two to three metres around the full extent of the building will make it very difficult to retain any sense of this very important building as it once was,” said NZHPT Chief Executive Bruce Chapman.

Following the earthquakes experienced on 23 December 2011 and related aftershocks, the NZHPT has continued to provide heritage advice and engineering peer review of three options that ranged from maximum retention to deconstruction to sill level of the entire building.

“While we recognised the Cathedral had sustained further damage as a result of ongoing earthquakes, the NZHPT’s Consultant Engineer remains confident that restoration or reconstruction in a strengthened form remains possible.”

The NZHPT would have preferred the option which sought maximum safe retention of the buildings heritage as a basis for rebuilding the Cathedral in a recognisable form.

Mr Chapman said that “While we appreciate that this may be a more expensive option, restoration or reconstruction in a strengthened form remains a possibility, and there is an opportunity to explore options to obtain the necessary local, national and international financial support.”

“As with many other heritage buildings, as well as its important primary role as a place of prayer and worship for the Anglican community, it is also a place symbolic of the identity of Christchurch. While the Cathedral is privately-owned, management decisions need to be cognisant of the wide range of public values associated with the building.”

Mr Chapman said that “The retention of central city heritage landmarks such as the Cathedral, the Roman Catholic Basilica, Arts Centre, Canterbury Provincial Chambers and Our City-O-Tautahi would enhance wider economic recovery of the city and region through the re-development of cultural tourism in the CBD.”

ENDS

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