About the reinstatement of Christ Church Cathedral

The reinstatement of Christ Church Cathedral, which suffered extensive earthquake damage, is a significant project which will take several years. 

The project will be managed jointly by the Church Property Trustees (CPT) who own and administer the Cathedral, and representatives of the Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Trust. The Trust will also lead the public fundraising effort.

Timeline to date

June 2016 – Cathedral Working Group set up (joint Crown and CPT) and produces a November 2016 report recommending reinstatement at approximately $100 million.

4 July 2017 – Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner and Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel make an offer to support reinstatement of the Cathedral. The offer was based on the work of the Cathedral Working Group.

July 2017 – More details on the offer are provided to CPT by the Government, Christchurch City Council and GCBT (28 July).

July/August 2017 – Pre Synod meetings consider two options – reinstatement or new build.

14 August 2017 – The Diocese publicises a third option, involving the gifting of the building to the people of New Zealand, subject to negotiation. 

9 September 2017 – Synod of the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch votes to accept the Government offer to support the reinstatement of the Cathedral as its formal annual meeting.

September 2017 – Work on legal agreements between CPT and the Government begins, along with work to establish the independent trust and select trustees. Policy development for legislation begins. 

12 October - 15 November 2017 – Christchurch City Council invites feedback on the proposed $10 million grant towards the reinstatement of Christ Church Cathedral.

20 November 2017 – The Chair of the Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Trust is announced as Christchurch businessman Peter Guthrey. 

December 2017 – Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Bill is introduced to Parliament and passes its third and final reading on 20 December 2017.

14 December 2017 – Christchurch City Council votes to approve a grant of $10 million to the reinstatement of the Christ Church Cathedral.
Hearing Panel minutes

22 December 2017 – Trustees announced for Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Trust.

14 February 2018 – Additional Trustees announced for the Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Trust.

Summary of the offer of support for reinstatement

  • 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.
  • The Great Christchurch Buildings Trust (GCBT) has confirmed it has secured donor pledges of $13.7 million. It has also indicated it may be able to raise up to another $14 million.
  • An independent trust will be established. The Government will appoint the trustees in consultation with stakeholders.
  • A joint venture will be established between the Church Property Trustees and the independent trust to govern and manage the delivery of the project. The trust will also lead the public fundraising effort for reinstatement and future maintenance.
  • The initial fundraising target will be set by the independent trust, but is estimated to be approximately $16-21 million. 
  • Legislation would be promoted that may streamline project consenting and approval processes and address other matters.
  • 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 proceeds ($42 million and any interests), less an allowance for internal costs.
  • The joint venture would establish a Maintenance and Insurance Fund at the outset of the project. Funds received for reinstatement will earn interest over time, which will be added to the Maintenance and Insurance Fund. Over the project period, the accumulated interest is expected to be at least $11 million (taking a conservative approach). 

What reinstatement means

‘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 project 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.

The benefits of reinstatement

  • 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.
  • A reinstated Cathedral carries with it a wider set of regeneration and community interests and values. 
  • Reinstatement provides greater certainty for the Canterbury community and business and tourism sectors.