A sad goodbye to the Christchurch Cathedral

Probably the most famous icon of where I currently live is the cathedral that stands in the square in the city centre of Christchurch. It’s image is used just about everywhere, from the city council logo, to snow globes and tourist bags. In February 2011, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit Christchurch and the cathedral was one of the many unfortunate architectural victims. For the last year it has sat in Cathedral Square broken and open to the elements. It was deconsecrated not long ago which means that it is no longer a religious building, and therefore CERA (the Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Authority) could take over and determine it’s fate and decide whether the building would be saved. Unfortunately it was not good news and the cathedral is soon to be demolished. There are huge debates still going on about whether this should or should not be happening. Personally although the cathedral has been there for many years now, I don’t think it is or can ever be again, structurally safe. No matter what they did to ‘stengthen’ or repair it, I would never feel safe walking in there again. Yes it is horrendously sad that it is being torn down, but I live in hope that something equally as amazing will replace it, that will not only be safe, but will also once again become the symbol for Christchurch. Hopefully they can use some of the stones from the current building in the new rebuild.

Despite still being inside the red zone cordon, a few weeks ago they opened up a walkway for people to go and look at the cathedral one last time, so Rory and I headed along. It was a weird vibe and there were certainly a few tears being shed amongst the thousands that went to say their goodbyes. Even the wizard turned up and was still carrying the torch for keeping the cathedral. The wizard has been giving speeches and debating issues for decades in the cathedral square now – my parents remember him doing it when they were kids, so in that sense it will be sad to see him lose his backdrop. Many things in Christchurch are and will be changing over the next decade, and as much as a lot of it is sad to see, it also means that we have hopefully a new, creative, wonderful and above all safe city to look forward to in the furute. Below are some of the photos I took on our walk through. I have a few friends overseas that have worked in buildings around the square so there are a few for you guys to see what’s happened to your buildings.

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