Cathedral demo starts as advocates fight
The demolition of Christ Church Cathedral has begun, even as New Zealand's top heritage body calls for a halt to deconstruction work.
A demolition machine known as a "nibbler" began to pull down the west wall of the tower yesterday morning. The demolition of the tower will take between two days and a week.
The New Zealand Historic Places Trust board has called for deconstruction to be halted and the Anglican diocese to make its engineering reports public. The board called for the building to be propped and fenced off.
Trust board chairwoman Shonagh Kenderine said in a leaked media release seen by The Press that the building was an icon for the region.
"Christ Church Cathedral defines the city and the province. It is a landmark that the whole community and visitors have an affinity with and is connected to, be it spiritual, physical, visual or emotional," it read.
Bishop Victoria Matthews was unavailable for comment as she is on leave.
A spokeswoman for the Anglican diocese said the trust had agreed to the demolition work.
"They have fully signed off on the tower and the methodology to bring it down. The tower is very dangerous," she said. "They are worried that in another major quake it will fall down and they don't know which way it will fall. It could fall on the western end."
Two containers were lifted into place by crane to protect the west porch during the demolition work.
Large bags of pink fibreglass insulation were placed between the tower and the church to further protect it from falling masonry.