Entry to Christchurch's Cardboard Cathedral will remain free as long as Dean Lynda Patterson is in charge, despite it costing about $600 a day to keep the building open.
The $5.3 million building had been visited by about 40,000 people each month since it opened to the public in August last year as a temporary replacement for the earthquake-damaged Christ Church Cathedral.
Patterson said the transitional cathedral - designed by celebrated architect Shigeru Ban - cost about $600 a day to run.
The cost included rates, insurance, maintenance, power, cleaning and repairs, such as when a stone was thrown through one of the windows recently.
"People know that the insurance costs alone for everyone in Christchurch have gone through the roof," Patterson said.
The $600 figure also covered the cost of information brochures given out to visitors and the salaries of staff who worked directly with visitors, but not those working behind the scenes.
"We're probably [spending more]. We thought putting $600 a day was a conservative estimate."
Patterson said "generous" public donations made at the cathedral's entry or online had been enough to cover the building's running costs to date.
"We want to keep opening the doors to people and that inevitably costs money," she said.
"We don't ever want to get to the point where we have to charge for entry, and as long as I'm here, we won't."
Patterson said the building was "more than just a cathedral".
"We don't want to have to shut the building down. This is a symbol of hope."
Money donated for the building's upkeep was not shared with the wider Anglican church or used for any other purpose, she said.
The former Christ Church Cathedral was estimated to have cost about $2000 a day to run before it was severely damaged in the February 2011 earthquake.
- The Press