The ChristChurch Cathedral Reinstatement Offer expands upon the work undertaken by the Cathedral Working Group.

Read the latest update on the Government offer to reinstate the ChristChurch Cathedral.

The Working Group was established by the Government and the Church Property Trustees in June 2016 to investigate and recommend a viable way to reinstate ChristChurch Cathedral. It produced the Cathedral Working Group Recommendation Report (November 2016), which recommended reinstatement. Following the delivery of its report, the Cathedral Working Group ceased in December 2016.

The Government, with the support of Christchurch City Council, is in support of a reinstatement project in line with the conclusions of the Cathedral Working Group. The Government has made an offer to the Bishop of Christchurch, Right Reverend Victoria Matthews to support reinstatement. The estimated cost of reinstatement is $104 million.

The Cathedral Working Group website is being used to provide ongoing information about the offer.

Cathedral Working Group Recommendation Report

Why support a reinstated Cathedral?

ChristChurch Cathedral has long been the iconic symbol of the Christchurch, as well as its namesake. It’s a place of worship, a tourist attraction, a community facility and a beloved heritage building, at the heart of Christchurch.

The Cathedral is one of New Zealand’s best known and most identifiable church buildings. It is of considerable heritage and architectural value. 

The image of the Cathedral is strongly linked with the identity of Christchurch for domestic and international audiences. Before the earthquakes, it was one of the top three visitor attractions in the city. 
ChristChurch Cathedral is linked to other Gothic revival buildings in central Christchurch such as the Arts Centre and Canterbury Museum.

The reinstatement offer acknowledges that the Cathedral is first and foremost a place of worship. The proposal looks at improving how well it meets the needs of the church and the wider community.

The reinstatement offer provides the opportunity to modernise, strengthen and greatly improve the functionality of the structure.

A reinstated Cathedral carries with it a wider set of regeneration and community interests and values. The Government and Council wish to express their support in a way that will enable progress to be made. This will also support the Church by enabling the Cathedral to be used again by its congregation and support the wider community by enabling Cathedral Square to be redeveloped as the heart of the city.  

The lack of progress on the future of the Cathedral building has inhibited development of Cathedral Square itself and detracts from the significant progress underway in the central city.

Summary of the offer of support

  • Cash contribution from the Government of $10 million.
  • Government interest free suspensory loan of $15 million. Repayment of the loan will be suspended and forgiven if the loan conditions are fulfilled. 
  • Christchurch City Council grant of $10 million, in principle, subject to public consultation and being provided for in the 2018-2028 Long Term Plan.
  • Confirmed donor pledge of $13.7 million from the Great Christchurch Buildings Trust.
  • A joint venture is envisaged between the Church Property Trustees and the Fundraising Trust to govern and manage the delivery of the reinstatement project.
  • An independent Fundraising Trust would be established to lead the public fundraising effort for the balance of the funds required for reinstatement and future maintenance. The Government would appoint the Trustees.
  • The estimated initial fundraising target is $15 million. An indicative additional commitment of up to $14 million has been signalled by the Great Christchurch Buildings Trust.
  • Legislation would be promoted to streamline project consenting and approval processes.
  • An indicative timetable of 7 years for the completion of the main and ancillary buildings, and up to a further 3 years for the tower and spire.
  • Church Property Trustees’ liability will be capped at its insurance contribution, less an allowance for internal costs.
  • The joint venture would establish a Maintenance and Insurance Fund at the outset of the project, and allocate $5 million to the Fund.

Full Offer of Support document (2.5 MB PDF) 

Additional Frequently asked questions about the Government’s offer to support the reinstatement of ChristChurch (28 July 2017) (61 KB PDF)

Frequently asked questions about the Government’s offer to support the reinstatement of ChristChurch Cathedral (4 July 2017) (29 KB PDF)

Media release: Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner (64 KB PDF)

Media release: Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel

What is reinstatement?

‘Reinstatement’ is a term to describe a combination of repair, restoration, reconstruction/rebuild and seismic strengthening – largely ‘reinstating’ the Cathedral to the extent that, for most people, it would be indistinguishable in appearance from the pre-earthquake building.  This is based on retaining as much as possible of the heritage features and integrity of the original gothic design of the building.  Where practicable, materials would be re-used, similar to the approach taken with other historic buildings in Christchurch.  Some deconstruction is required to make the building safe.

The reinstatement proposal includes:

Seismic strengthening

It is proposed that the strengthening works target 100 percent of the NBS (new building code) for a building of IL3 level importance because it is both a public building and its heritage status. Full base isolation is provided for.

Flexible interior layout and seating options

Base isolation will require replacement of the existing tile floor, which has already been significantly damaged. This will allow for improvements to be made, including improved service and seating layouts and the installation of a modern heating system.

Improved user comfort levels - heating, lighting and audio visual facilities

As well as installing modern lighting and heating, the existing organ would need to be removed, repaired and reinstated.

Improved linkages to the Square precinct

The western wall was extensively damaged and would need to be completely demolished and rebuilt. A new western entrance porch area that improves access from the pedestrian areas of the Square is recommended.

New ancillary facilities and buildings

Initial user requirements for new ancillary facilities include the need for choir practice rooms, church offices and education facilities. Ancillary facilities provided for include facilities such as a fit-for-purpose visitor centre, museum, shop and café that provide a high quality visitor experience and are capable of generating income.

Replacement tower and spire

A replacement tower and spire is envisaged that provides a high-quality visitor attraction and engaging tower climbing experience.