Newspaper joke predicted cathedral's fate
In a strange twist of fate, a newspaper story published five years ago predicted the fate of Christ Church Cathedral.
The "exclusive" story, entitled "Cathedral to be demolished", appeared on the front page of the Community News on April 1, 2007.
While the story was an April Fools' joke, it foretold the demolition of the cathedral with spooky accuracy.
"Bulldozers will move in to demolish the cathedral this week - after huge cracks were discovered in its foundations when major renovation work started last month," the story, written by ''April Hawaka'', said.
"Secret meetings have been held between Anglican Church officials, senior city council staff and international construction experts in a desperate bid to save the cathedral," the story said.
Bishopdale resident Tony Sutcliffe, 61, found the newspaper when he was cleaning out his house and was blown away by the way the joke story mirrored real events that had befallen the cathedral since February 22 last year.
"I'm great at hanging on to useless information for years, thinking one day this will be useful and it turned out it was,'' he said.
"I pulled it out earlier this year when I was moving house and couldn't believe the resemblance to what happened. The photo even has people on scaffolding. It looks like some they've taken since the earthquake."
Sutcliffe said he was particularly shocked by how close the figures were to real life.
The 2007 story said the estimated "$110m repairs" were " too costly" and that the cathedral "could not be rebuilt".
Christchurch engineers Holmes Consulting has estimated the retention of the cathedral post-quake will cost more than $100m.
Sutcliffe said he held on to the paper because it amused him, but never thought the events depicted would come true.
"There have been some quite good April Fools' jokes over the years and I imagine that this one caused a stir at the time. It was very believable. I'm just amazed looking at it now with hindsight," he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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