Before the 22 February 2001 earthquake.

Christchurch Earthquake, 22 February 2011

Christchurch, New Zealand, suffered significant loss of life and physical damage from an earthquake at 12:51pm, local time, on 22 February 2011 (= 23:51 UTC, 21 February 2011). The Cathedral was one of many buildings affected by the earthquake, and an unknown number of people have died within its walls.

Christchurch Cathedral - after the earthquake, 22 February 2011

image from


December 2016. Decision on Christchurch Cathedral Delayed Further

Christchurch Cathedral, December 2016

A decison on the future of Christchurch Cathedral has been delayed until 2017. Follow this link to a report on Radio NZ, dated 22 December 2016.

The report includes footage obtained by a drone flying within the cathedral.

April 2012. Construction will soon begin on a cardboard cathedral to temporarily replace Christ Church Cathedral.

Christchurch Cardboard Cathedral
    Artist's impression of the Christchurch Cardboard Cathedral

Designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, the temporary cathedral's planned location is on the site of the former parish of St John's, at the corner of Hereford and Madras Streets. It is expected the 700-person-capacity structure will be completed by December 2012. Ban revealed his design last August, quoting the construction cost at $4 million.

Richard Gray, of the Transitional Cathedral Group, said the diocese had "the bulk of the money ... in hand but there will be further fundraising to meet the costs of building the temporary structure. This is a very exciting next step for the project. The transitional cathedral is a symbol of hope for the future of this city as well as being sustainable and affordable. The cathedral is confident it will attract interest nationally and internationally, drawing additional visitors to the city."

The innovative structure will comprise cardboard tubes, timber beams and structural steel. It will serve as a temporary cathedral until a new Christ Church Cathedral is constructed, and will then remain in place as St John's parish, whose church, vicarage and hall were demolished after the February 2011 earthquake. The diocese hopes it will also provide a venue for concerts, exhibitions, civic and community events.

Linked containers will sit alongside the cathedral to house a cafe, shop, meeting rooms, amenities and offices. Designed to last more than 20 years, it will be the largest "emergency structure" Ban has designed. He is known for his work in disaster zones, including Rwanda in 1994, Kobe after the 1995 quake, Turkey in 1999 and Haiti in 2011.

Here are links to the Christchurch Cathedral website announcement and more details of the project.

(source: Christchurch Cathedral press release)

Meanwhile, the Christchurch Cathedral Bellringers will consider a proposal to the Cathedral Authorities for bells to be included in the design of the newly announced Transitional Cathedral. Details of the proposal will be put before the bellringers at their AGM on 22nd May 2012.

We think that a self-contained ring is very much in the spirit of the design of the Transitional Cathedral which is to be constructed using cardboard tubes and containers. We hope to provide the ringers with a much needed reason to meet on a regular basis for ringing; an opportunity to keep the group together until a new permanent Cathedral exists and a chance to welcome worshippers to services again.

Nothing is certain at this stage, and we have a lot of work to do to put our plans into action. In time we would hope to be in a position to put our cathedral bells back into a new permanent structure.

We will be seeking donations to assist us in installing a ring at the Transitional Cathedral and later to restore our bells to the new permanent Cathedral. The ringers will be responsible for raising the majority of these funds from outside New Zealand as the insurance funds are limited and fund-raising is required for the Cathedral (the bellringers are not allowed to detract from that fund-raising). The Central Council is kindly handling donations on our behalf in sterling. Please go to their website for further details.

Planning is at an early stage but we will be keeping everyone up-to-date with any developments. We hope it may not be too long before we can welcome ringing visitors to a cathedral ring again in Christchurch.

(Anita Adams, for the Christchurch Bellringers)

What can you do?

  • Send messages of support to the Christchurch ringers via or directly to those you know. Mike passes on messages to the Christchurch ringers as a group.
  • Keep the people of Christchurch in your thoughts and prayers.
  • Donations. Thank you to those who have already offered financial support. Please save donations until appropriate channels are established to receive them. Watch this space.


Read about the announcement of the Cathedral's deconstruction, and the subsequent reaction - Christ Church Cathedral condemned - The Press, 2 March 2012.

"Christchurch Cathedral is to be deconsecrated ahead of partial demolition. The Cathedral will be partially demolished with its remains incorporated into a modern new cathedral, senior church figures revealed today." New-look Christ Church Cathedral planned - NZ Herald, 28 October 2011.

Radio New Zealand National - an audio report by Kim Griggs - 18 March 2011

Radio New Zealand National - 'The Panel', 1 March 2011, audio - especially minutes 7 to 9

Remembering loved ones lost in Christchurch - an article by Vicki Anderson, 1 March 2011, referred to in the link above

More images - Christchurch Cathedral website

"Cathedral Dean devastated by human cost" - link to a news report.


  • - tel: (03) 365 8405 (h); (03) 366 0046 (w)

A bell tower ladder

Image © Andrew Treloar, 2006