Christchurch releases third option for earthquake-destroyed cathedral

August 13, 2017

[Anglican  Taonga] The Diocese of Christchurch has issued details of a third option for the future of ChristChurch Cathedral that would offer the building as a gift to the government for the people of Aotearoa New Zealand.

If Christchurch Diocesan Synod selects the new option, it would direct the Church Property Trustees (CPT) to enter into negotiations with the Government for the gifting of the ChristChurch Cathedral building to the people of New Zealand.

“We love and have always loved the Cathedral building in the Square” said Bishop Victoria Matthews in the Aug. 14 statement.

“Our concern with CPT committing to full reinstatement has always been about the risk of the cost going over what we are able to commit to the reinstatement.

“For example, if the damage is worse than anticipated, or there is a fundraising shortfall, we would be in serious trouble even with the generous government offer.

“We need to be good stewards.

“By gifting the cathedral building to the government, it would be reinstated to its former glory and managed by them on behalf of all New Zealanders for use as a public space.”

If synod chooses to offer the cathedral to the nation, the CPT would share its knowledge and experience of the building to assist the government in its reinstatement.

Although the cathedral would no longer be owned by the Anglican Church, the diocese would seek permission to use the building for large services, such as Easter and Christmas, as part of any agreement.

The new option ‘C’ will now sit alongside the two existing options for synod members to consider before their September 8-9 meeting:

Option A: full reinstatement of the building taking up the government grant and loan, Christchurch City Council loan and Great Christchurch Buildings Trust fundraising pledge, alongside the Church’s cathedral insurance payout.

Option B: construction of an inspiring highly functional new cathedral in the square on the current site, incorporating features and materials from the old cathedral building, using the church’s cathedral insurance payout.

Option C: gifting ChristChurch Cathedral to the government for the people of New Zealand.

The full statement released by the Diocese of Christchurch is here