Christchurch’s Cardboard Cathedral safe for at least four years

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The Cardboard Cathedral in Christchurch. Photo / George Heard


The future of Christchurch’s Cardboard Cathedral is in question, now that the parish it belongs to has agreed to dissolve.

The Anglican Diocese of Christchurch made the decision on Saturday morning.

Bishop Peter Carrell said he understood why residents were nervous about losing the Cathedral, which was established after the 2011 earthquake.


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“There are people in Christchurch very attached to the transitional cathedral and some of them were present in our synod and spoke up in favour of it being retained as a building,” Carrell said.

“It is an amazing building and so our consideration of future possible uses will look into how it might still remain as a building, it won’t be our cathedral.”

While there were concerns the building could be sold, Carrell said the cathedral would be safe for at least four years.

He said the diocese had many ideas about how to use the land once the restored stone Christ Church Cathedral was reopened in 2027 and selling the land was just one option.


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“We’re going to have a group that will look into and explore those options,” he said.

“Everything about the site will continue as usual while the transitional cathedral is there, at least four more years … really we’ve set in motion a process of considering what happens at the end of those four years.”

Carrell said he understood that many Cantabrians had become attached to the cardboard building and did not want to see it sold or demolished.

Their feelings would be factored into the final decision, he said.

The Cardboard Cathedral opened opposite Latimer Square in 2013 as a temporary place of worship, but it soon became popular with tourists too.

The building was designed by award-winning Japanese architect Shigeru Ban and won the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the most prestigious prize in modern architecture, in 2014.


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