READER REPORT:

Christchurch's cathedral conundrum continues

HENRY AMUNDSEN
Last updated 15:38 20/03/2017
Cathedral
GRANT MATTHEW/FAIRFAX NZ

One of the reasons the Cathedral was so revered is because of how simple and humble (in church terms) it was.

Canterbury, six years after the Sept 4 quake

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Last week I read another article about what we are going to do with the Christ Church Cathedral.

We’ve been assured a decision is pending. We’ve been assured of that since a week after the quake.

Today, apart from being the poster child for inaction and the dismally handled rebuild of the city, this point of contention – the question of what to do with the ruins - still fires up people on both sides of the argument.

Many want it saved, others want it gone, and many just don’t care anymore.

READ MORE:
* Christ Church Cathedral decision imminent
* Cathedral working group cost $443,000
* $25m to break cathedral stalemate
* Regeneration strategy expected mid-year

Personally, I‘d be happy to see it stay in its current state (albeit a sured up, tastefully fenced and structurally sound state).

There are a number of reasons why, here are the top three.

The first, and most obvious, is that it’s completely destroyed.

It’s a pile of masonry. It has ceased to be. It is… an ex cathedral.

It’s still a symbol of Christchurch though and today I feel it’s got even more power than it did before.

I honestly believe that suring it up and keeping it as a lasting memorial will do so much more for the people and future of Christchurch than if we completely rebuilt it.

Think about the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in Berlin - it’s an absolute marvel – one which evokes a lot of emotion when seen up close, even to those with no connection to that time in history.

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Secondly, has anyone actually seen what’s going on down there?

The people in charge of the rebuild are hardly a creative bunch and my biggest fear is that letting them design a new cathedral that “speaks for all Cantabrians” is an arrogant and dangerous path.

One of the reasons the Cathedral was so revered is because of how simple and humble (in church terms) it was.

Letting some 2017 design 'guru' loose on it will give us exactly what we deserve. A building that lacks any sincerity at all.

You can only imagine... "The shaped glass roof reflects the people looking upwards to an answer from God, while the rubble with carbon fibre pews set atop tells a poignant story of the old and the new, the vision of Christchurch rising form the ashes".

Thirdly, I’m a taxpayer and a non-believer. I don’t want one cent of my money going towards the very expensive rebuild of a religious monument when so much more could be done for the long suffering people of Christchurch.

The church already raised funds to build a replacement cathedral (a prime example of the horrible architecture we may see if we decide to rebuild the actual cathedral with a “contemporary twist”) and good on them for doing so.

But how many cathedrals do we really need?

Finally, to quote many of Stuff's loyal commenters, maybe it’s time to “just get over it and move on“ – all this faffing about is getting tiresome.

A new Christchurch, built around an untouched symbol of the old Christchurch - it might be quite a touching statement.


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