Anglicans face changing approval terms for restoring Christ Church Cathedral

The Anglican church in New Zealand may have to change its approval terms for restoring Christ Church Cathedral.

Doing so would avoid restoration work stopping in October if more funds cannot be found before then.

This is because when the Anglican Synod approved the cathedral’s restoration in 2017, its terms stipulated that each stage could only go ahead if the full funding for that stage was already in place.

The total cost forecast at about $154m.

At present,  $103 million is currently in place for the project, with the first stage – involving stabilising the cathedral with large steel frames – underway.

This stage will cost $11.8m.

The next stage, which involves strengthening and reinstating the main cathedral building, will cost about $115.6m, which exceeds the currently available funding.

Christchurch diocese bishop Peter Carrell says revised approval terms may be presented to the Synod in September.

He says he hasn’t drawn up any revisions or discussed the matter with Synod so far.

If there is still insufficient money for the main stage by September, Carrell says the question to put to the Synod would be: “Do we have flexibility to continue with the money we have?”

“We are talking about the possibility where we break large phases down into smaller phases. We now have a better sense of the sequencing than we did in 2017.”

Carrell is confident construction could continue beyond October because of the $100m already raised. The project is due for completion in mid-2027.

“We have plenty of money to keep going for a number of years,” he says.

“It would be silly to say ‘stop’ simply because we are a few million short.”

“Over the lifetime of the project we will raise all the funds we need to raise. It is quite a long time.”

Last year, restoration leaders said $26m would need to be raised by this October for work to continue.

Carrell says there is a will to continue with the project, “but we want to honour the 2017 resolution and the joint venture agreement that flowed out of that.”

Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Trust chairman Peter Guthrey says the Trust is working on finding donors in New Zealand and overseas to cover the $51m shortfall on the project.

“At the moment we don’t have any significant new pledges beyond Philip Burdon’s donation of $5m,” he says.

Burdon says it’s important to avoid a pause in restoration work as it increases costs and people like stonemasons leave the project.

“That is something that all parties are trying to avoid,” he says.

Besides the stabilisation and reinstatement costs, $11.2m will be spent on a new tower and $15.7m on two new buildings.

The trust already has over $100m for the project in grants and pledges. These include $53m from insurance, $6m in lotteries funding, $25m from the government, $10m from Christchurch City Council and at least $9.1m in personal donations.


Additional reading

News category: New Zealand.

Tags: , ,