New site for Christchurch Catholic cathedral rumoured


A new Catholic Cathedral in Christchurch could be built on a site beside the Avon River, a new four-minute documentary suggests.

The documentary begins with filmmaker Gerard Smyth telling Paul Martin, the Catholic bishop of Christchurch, that he has heard “rumours” that the cathedral might be moving.

To which Martin replies “It is very interesting that you are hearing that Gerard.”

Three options have been under consideration after the cathedral was damaged in the Christchurch earthquake: restoration of the existing structure, a new cathedral constructed on the present site, or a new cathedral in a new site close to the centre of the city.

Martin said that it is ultimately up to the bishop to make the decision about the future of the cathedral. He said there would be no voting on the options.

If restoration was not a possibility, his personal preference was to be more in the heart of the city.

In November, Stuff reported Martin as saying the church was in talks over the purchase of a city centre site near Cathedral Square.

He declined at that time to name the site.

In the documentary Smyth suggests it is located on Oxford Tce between the Margaret Mahy Playground on Manchester St and Victoria Square on Colombo St.

It currently has about five owners, including the former PWC building site partly owned by developer Philip Carter and the site of the former Copthorne hotel.

At the end of the documentary, Smyth asked the bishop if he was “leaning towards a certain decision, would you be able to tell us now?”

“If you turn the camera off you mean?” was the reply.

Smyth, an award-winning filmmaker, is the owner of Christchurch based Frank Film.

He has produced and/or directed more than 60 documentaries. A short, easily digestible film is uploaded to Frank Film weekly on Monday mornings.


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