Christchurch Cathedral : Marcus Brandt and the People’s Steeple Project


While Bishop Victoria and the Anglican church property trust (CPT) continue to sit on their hands perhaps awaiting devine intervention, who knew, it turns out that a group of stalwart people in New Zealand – with an incredible level of international assistance – are busy planning a very special Cathedral project.

From: Mark Belton
Sent: Sunday, February 26, 2017 11:11 PM
To: [Elizabeth Kerr + RCC Mailing List]
Subject: Introducing The People’s Steeple

Dear Cathedral Restoration supporters

Below is a link to a video clip of the People’s Steeple proposal being demonstrated by its creator Marcus Brandt. Marcus has been in CHCH this last week promoting the People’s Steeple Project.

The People’s Steeple is a mind blowing proposal…audacious, visionary, inspiring. Lifting telescoping timber sections of the spire 60 metres into the sky…powered by about 500 trained people working 16 capstan winches placed around Cathedral Square, watched by up to 50,000 people in the Square.

The US based Timber Framers Guild (TFG), a professional organisation of engineers and timber framers has offered to be the lead contractor to build, assemble, and erect the People’s Steeple. The lead NZ engineers would be renowned CHCH timber engineer – Prof Andy Buchanan whose report on the project is attached.

Skilled TFG members from the US and around the world would gift their time, working in the Square preparing and assembling the timbers, and then helping lead the steeple’s erection. Up to 300 TFG members along with locals could be involved working in the Square over a period of about 6 months.

The TFG have successfully undertaken 75 community building projects over the last 25 years in the US and around the world. They are super keen to offer their services to CHCH. The TFG emphasise their projects are about ‘building communities’.

Marcus says would take only 2-3 hrs to lift and secure the telescoping sections. Flooring and bells would be assembled the same day and in the evening the bells would ring out…proclaiming to the world – ‘Christchurch is back’….and a Hangi feast would be opened…for a crowd of 50,000! International media would broadcast the event around the world…the whole enterprise being about engaging our community in the most positive way…and it would ignite fund raising for the restoration of the cathedral. It is envisaged the construction of the People’s Steeple would lead restoration of the cathedral and the Square.

It is noted huge pro bono contributions from the Guild’s members are being offered, and Blakely Pacific NZ Ltd, a US based forestry company has offered to provide the timbers at no cost from giant 125-year-old Port Orford Cedar from its Pioneer Forest in South Canterbury.

The Restore Christchurch Cathedral Group is strongly supportive of the People’s Steeple.

We hope this inspiring project will help engage and enthuse Christchurch people with recovery of the cathedral, and help get the cathedral restoration programme underway.

Warm regards

Mark Belton
Co-Chair, Restore Christchurch Cathedral

Mark Belton
Managing Director
Permanent Forests NZ Limited
PO Box 34, Lyttelton 8841, New Zealand

See attached reports by Marcus Brandt, Andy Buchanan, and the TFG.
TFG People’s Steeple Project approach notes-10-2-16
Steeple 16-8-12
M Belton report on Timber Framers Guild conf and People’s Steeple 23-9-16
Engineering the People’s Steeple v9

The People’s Steeple | Whare Films Published on Feb 23, 2017


The People’s Steeple
Rebuilding the Bell Tower at Christchurch Cathedral

Marcus Brandt: An Introduction

For the last thirty years or so, I’ve been restoring historic stone and timber buildings, mostly in Southeastern Pennsylvania. I’m a working master carpenter and stone mason. Most of the historic buildings I am called to work on are 150 to 300 years old. Solid and well crafted, these old buildings tend to age well, but neglect and damage can take a toll. Much of my effort is spent in repairing and strengthening the timber frames of barns, bridges, houses, gristmills and churches. I’ve had several commissions to build new structures in the old style. I have organized and led many barn raisings, in which hundreds of volunteers gather to raise a barn’s frame in a day. A good crew will have the sides and roof on too.
Straightening, plumbing and repairing damaged stone walls is often called for. It is not uncommon to straighten a wall 10 meters high that is out of plumb by 400 or 500 mm. Having studied and worked with several Scots masons, I’m a strong believer in lime based mortars and good masonry practice. The interface between stone and timber is of particular interest to me.
Since 1989, I’ve been a professional member of the Timber Framers Guild (TFG) and a member of the Traditional Timberframe Research and Advisory Group (TTRAG). That part of the Guild focuses on understanding the past practice of the craft with a view that the past might help inform future practice. I have advised many historical and preservation societies and sat on many review boards.
As a result of my participation in Guild efforts and projects, I was invited to go to both Scotland and China to investigate “lost” technologies for the Public Broadcast Service series NOVA. We built working siege weapons in Scotland and in China we built a bridge design that hadn’t been built since the Mongol invasion.
I teach Traditional building skills at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA. I’m particularly interested in ways that the pre-industrial past practice can inform building in the greener, sustainable post-industrial world of the future.
I serve as a sailor, boson and ship’s carpenter aboard the tall ship Gazela ( That experience has taught me much about rigging and raising heavy loads in confined spaces. It’s taught me about erecting tall, secure, flexible, stable structures that get tossed about and shaken mercilessly. A sea captain in her own right, my wife serves as First Mate aboard Gazela. She out-ranks me, and helps keep me humble.
Since 22 February, I have been working as much as possible to develop a method to rebuild the Bell tower at Christchurch. With the help of friends and students, and the forbearance of my wife, I developed a plan that is beautiful, solid, strong, flexible, earthquake resistant, buildable, durable, and familiar. But more than anything, I want to use the rebuilding of the steeple as a vehicle for rebuilding and strengthening the community. And, once built, serve as an outward witness to the inward love we have for each other as fellow humans.
I look forward to doing this project with the able help of my best friends in the world…many of whom I haven’t yet met.

█ More information about the People’s Steeple Project and participants at


Related Posts and Comments:
23.12.15 Christ Church Cathedral: practical news from govt mediator…
14.7.12 Rival newspaper on historic heritage #cathedral
2.3.12 Christ Church, Cathedral Square

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.




*Images: Christchurch Cathedral – (from top) colour render by whatifdunedin [photo source: Country Farm Garden Photos at]; black white render by whatifdunedin [photo source: Tony H Photography at]; colour photo of steeple detail []; cathedral with chalice by Sisson Photography [via]; black white photo by Mudbird Ceramics []; colour photo by Cindy taken on 5 Aug 2003 [via]



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19 responses to “Christchurch Cathedral : Marcus Brandt and the People’s Steeple Project

  1. Elizabeth

    Good historic heritage news at Christchurch today.

    At Facebook:

    [Photo link issue at Stuff, viewable at their page by clicking on the blank box. -Eds]


    It is hoped the Catholic Cathedral can be rebuilt for $100 million.

    Fri, 3 Mar 2017
    Stuff: $70m for cathedral restoration
    By Charlie Gates – The Press
    Catholic leaders are confident they can raise the $70 million still needed for the restoration of their earthquake-damaged cathedral in Christchurch, but the project will have to be approved by a new bishop.
    Diocese administrator Rick Loughnan said consultants had been appointed to help with the fundraising effort for the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament on Barbadoes St along with parish buildings and new churches.
    “We are confident that we could raise that money,” he said. The diocese has about $30m for the $100m cathedral restoration project, leaving about $70m left to raise. Loughnan said the money could be raised in the diocese, overseas and in the local community.
    Bishop Barry Jones died in February last year. The long and private process to find his replacement is still under way, Loughnan said. Before his death, Jones approved a project to restore the central part of the cathedral, known as the nave, for about $45m. Diocese leaders said in October that engineering work had proved the whole cathedral could be restored for about $100m.
    “We are going to propose to the new bishop that we restore the cathedral, possibly with some new lightweight materials in some places,’’ Loughnan said. We are ready to go in a sense, but we can’t do anything that compromises the bishop’s decision. We are waiting for our new bishop. He will make the final decision on whether we proceed with restoration or not. That is his decision.” Cont/

    ● The diocese has also started work on repairing, strengthening and replacing churches across the diocese.


    From: Mark Belton
    Sent: Friday, 3 March 2017 2:12 p.m.
    To: Sebastian Wilberforce
    Cc: [Elizabeth Kerr +RCC Mailing List]
    Subject: RE: The Press on the [Catholic] cathedral and heritage 3 3 17

    This quiet resolve of the Catholic leadership shames the Anglicans….how pathetic and lacking in faith they are, and why the lack of confidence in support from the wider community? They continuously insult good people within New Zealand and around the world who would give generously to assist with the cathedral’s restoration.
    The Anglicans timidity about sharing in the risk of raising $30 million is a sham.
    The Arts Centre Trust faced raising $140 million to cover costs above their insurance payout, more than four times the amount the Anglicans require.
    The Roman Catholics need to raise $70 million, more than twice what the Anglicans are so challenged by.
    And as the Press revealed last week the Anglicans have an asset base worth over $300 million, and on that basis are well positioned to share some risk.
    Despite these facts the Anglicans have the temerity to play hard ball with our Government, rejecting its generous offers, and then had had the gall to make sanctimonious non announcements on the eve of the 6th Anniversary of the quakes.
    Their opposition to the restoration of the cathedral has been obvious from the outset as they have gushed alternative truths about safety, cost and ‘modern ecclesiastical requirements’ that would make Trump proud. The facts speak for themselves, from the outset engineering experts were unanimous full restoration to the highest code requirements was possible. To the shame of the Anglicans the cathedral, beloved by so many quake affected Cantabrians, has been left wounded and exposed to vermin and the weather for 6 long years. But for the Bishop’s intransigence it could be well on the way to recovery by now.
    The cathedral issue has caused huge discord and anguish in a community that was hurting enough from the trauma of the quakes. Its recovery is essential to the healing needed in this city. This is the most important issue, how this impass has affected our people. It behoves our community leaders to stand strong for the recovery of beautiful and history rich sacred places which people hold dear in their memory. The cathedral in the square is foremost amongst such places. Instead of seizing the opportunity to lead the spiritual and emotional recovery of Christchurch with restoration of the cathedral the Church leadership has obstructed at every opportunity. So Sad. So tragic.
    It is time for the Anglican Canterbury Diocese leadership to move on. The Bishop should resign.

    That said…A positive decision on the cathedral must be close. There is no other way forward.

    Warm regards

    Mark Belton
    Co-Chair, Restore Christchurch Cathedral

    Mark Belton
    Managing Director
    Permanent Forests NZ Limited
    PO Box 34, Lyttelton 8841, New Zealand

  2. Hype O'Thermia

    Mark Belton: “But for the Bishop’s intransigence it could be well on the way to recovery by now…….It is time for the Anglican Canterbury Diocese leadership to move on. The Bishop should resign.”
    Why do “ordinary” C of E people put up with this ruthlessly ambitious woman? Do Anglican Bishops have a claim to Papal-style infallibility, making it sinful to challenge their opinions? That ghastly person is so out of touch with what the Cathedral means to Christchurch, to Canterbury, to NZers and to people all over the world who ever spent time in Christchurch. Most of them are not Anglicans, indeed statistically it’s a fair bet that most of them aren’t even Christians. This is far from concluding they are not spiritually alive, open to and welcoming of the special places that take them for even a brief time to considerations of matters beyond coffee and credit card debt and interpersonal grumps and facebook.

  3. Elizabeth


    From: Vaughan Maybury
    Sent: Friday, 3 March 2017 2:33 p.m.
    To: Mark Belton; Sebastian Wilberforce
    Cc: [Elizabeth Kerr + RCC Mailing List]
    Subject: RE: The Press on the [Catholic] cathedral and heritage 3 3 17

    Mark, I agree with your points regarding sham ‘concerns’ about raising additional funding. The trustees should follow their leader and also resign, they clearly have no place in a restoration process they have fought tooth and nail to oppose.

    Vaughan Maybury

  4. Elizabeth

    This morning via The Press:

    Last updated 09:14, April 1 2017
    Stuff: Opinion: Cathedral talks are a ‘sham’
    By Philip Burdon
    OPINION The long running negotiations over the restoration of the Christ Church Cathedral remain unresolved as the “good faith negotiations” of the church leadership are increasingly called into question. Structurally the building has been the subject of endless engineering reviews and without exception it is agreed by all expert opinion that the cathedral can be made safe and restored to 100 per cent of code using contemporary building techniques and materials.

    Offers of help in kind and directly have been made by all sectors of society throughout the country. Opinion polls consistently and overwhelmingly support restoration.

    Endless attempts informally and formally have been made to to reach an agreement with the Anglican church to restore the cathedral. The most recent was the Crown Working Party led by Geoff Dangerfield, a retired senior public servant, where a recommendation was signed off and agreed by the three participating parties – the Crown, the Church Property Trustees (CPT) and the Great Christchurch Building Trust (GCBT). The public were led to believe that the appropriate announcement would be made before Christmas and when that failed by February 22, being the sixth anniversary of the earthquake.

    The offers are generous with a substantial Government contribution and the appropriate enabling legislation to allow a global fundraising campaign along with the commitment by the GCBT to help in the appropriate manner the domestic fund raising campaign.

    The Crown and the broader community have bent over backwards to accommodate the Church. I suggest it is doubtful if any recipient of such generous offers of help has ever been so ungrateful or so unhelpful. The reality is that, regardless of the understandings that have been reached, the process has been frustrated by an endless succession of last minute objections by the church leadership. Cont/

    ● Philip Burdon is the co-chairman of the Great Christchurch Buildings Trust.


    “Unfairly or not, it appears that the private agenda of some is to procrastinate and oppose in the forlorn hope that they will in years to come get consent to demolish.” –Philip Burdon

    Last updated 05:00, April 1 2017
    Stuff: Campaigner: Cathedral talks are ‘sham’
    By Charlie Gates – The Press
    Negotiations to restore the ChristChurch Cathedral are a “sham” because Anglican leaders have a “private agenda” to demolish the historic building, a campaigner claims. Great Christchurch Buildings Trust (GCBT) co-chairman Philip Burdon made the claims in an opinion piece submitted to Stuff. The businessman and former Cabinet minister has campaigned to save the cathedral from demolition. Church Property Trustees (CPT), who manage Anglican diocese buildings, are in talks with the Government over a deal to restore the cathedral. A deal was expected before Christmas and again in February, but agreement has proved elusive. Burdon believes Anglican leaders secretly want to demolish the cathedral. “On the face of it, it would appear that we have all been the victims of sham negotiations and that the private ambition of the relevant Church leadership has always been to oppose restoration.” Cont/

  5. Elizabeth

    Bloody Old Victoria Witch and the CPT

    Cathedral survey options criticised
    • The Press
    • 20 Apr 2017
    An Anglican survey on restoration options for Christ Church Cathedral is ‘‘misleading’’ and a ‘‘delaying tactic’’, says heritage campaigner Mark Belton.
    The Church Property Trustees (CPT), who manage Anglican diocese buildings, commissioned the survey earlier this month. CPT general manager Gavin Holley said it was commissioned to ‘‘give us up-to-date information’’.
    The survey asks people if they prefer a modern cathedral or a restoration. Then it asks if the fact a modern cathedral would not require Government funds, would take seven years to complete and is unlikely to have an impact on rates changes that opinion. It also asks if the fact restoration means the Anglican church ‘‘will need to raise $56 million’’ and full insurance ‘‘is likely to be $1000 a day’’ changes that opinion.
    Anglican leaders are in negotiations with the Government over a restoration deal for the cathedral. The Government deal involves the $104m cost of restoration being funded by the Anglican’s $42m insurance payout, a $10m Government grant, a $15m Government loan and a $15m funding pledge from the Great Christchurch Buildings Trust (GCBT). This leaves a shortfall of $26m. The CPT says the shortfall is $56m because the Government’s $15m loan needs to be repaid and the GCBT’s funding pledge is still to be realised. The CPT also points to an additional $4m needed for fundraising costs, taking the total cost of the project to $108 million.
    The survey asks for views on taxpayer and ratepayer contributions to the cathedral restoration and if people would be willing to donate to the project. After those questions, the survey asks people to vote again on which cathedral option they prefer.
    Restore Christ Church Cathedral Group co-chairman Mark Belton said some questions in the survey were ‘‘appalling’’. ‘‘I am thoroughly disillusioned and frustrated by it,’’ he said. ‘‘They are leading and misleading questions. It is another delaying tactic when what is needed is resolution.
    ‘‘It is time to be more honest about this. I and many others have kept quiet in the hope that the church is acting in good faith and the poll is further evidence that they have not been. The survey is so manipulated. It is about trying to generate support for something else, which is not what is on the table for negotiation.’’
    A diocese spokesman said there would be no comment until the results of the poll were published. He would not say when that would be, nor how people could participate in the survey.
    Christchurch-based research agency Research First is carrying out the work and has a link to the questionnaire on its website,
    ‘‘I am thoroughly disillusioned and frustrated by it [the survey].’’ Heritage campaigner Mark Belton



    One for our Lit Candle Vicky:

  6. Elizabeth

    The Anglicans are clearly still of a mind to bowl Christ Church Cathedral and replace it with something modern. But what that contemporary alternative might be has turned fuzzy. (The Press)

    Three choices, but is there a fourth? The options of a restored Cathedral, left, a wooden replica, centre, and a modern design.

    Last updated 05:00, May 20 2017
    The Press: Christ Church Cathedral: What if it has to be modern?
    By John McCrone
    Stonewalled. Nope, the Bishop won’t be taking questions. Neither will the Church Property Trustees (CPT). Even those more distantly connected to the vexed Christ Church Cathedral question declined interview requests from The Press after a few days of “taking advice”. Perhaps that is human and reasonable. The Anglican hierarchy has been under sustained attack ever since it decided to pull down the very symbol of Christchurch – its earthquake-stricken Gothic revival cathedral – and replace it with something cheaper, safer and modern. But here we are halfway through 2017, still waiting to hear an official response to a Government-backed plan to reinstate the Cathedral with the help of a $10 million grant from the public purse. Instead of giving its answer, the Church has decided to undertake another survey of people’s feelings. In April, CPT employed Research First to run an online questionnaire. And despite the trustees having formally rescinded their 2013 decision to go “modest contemporary” so they could take part in last year’s mediation talks in open good faith, a modern replacement cathedral is again clearly the direction in which they are leaning. […] Cathedral traditionalists, like Great Christchurch Buildings Trust (GCBT) co-chair Philip Burdon, have reacted angrily, saying it shows the negotiations were always a sham. Burdon accuses Bishop Victoria Matthews – a Canadian – of being “an outsider who neither relates to nor understands her host community.” Cont/

    Emails received by whatifdunedin……..

    Email(s) from Ross Gray:

    20 May 2017
    Why has Mc Crone written this? It seems calculated to increase complication, obfuscation and procrastination, as sought by the Anglican hierarchy. He shows no awareness of the heritage status of the building and the near insuperable odds of having it demolished in order to effect any of these modern schemes. His critiquing of the online poll is nil. He is unaware of how much importance the bishop put on “beauty” (which she can’t seem to ascribe to the cathedral itself!) in her public pronouncements about a modern replacement following the “cathedral tour” in 2013.
    Plain mischief-making in my view.

    20 May 2017
    Sorry, I meant to also say, what a silly and meaningless title, “What if it has to be MODERN?”: what does “have” mean here? Why would it “have to” and according to whom?
    I also meant to say what a terrific letter (faith!) from Haydn yesterday! It echoes what we of the Civic Trust have included in a media release which The Press has refused to use and which the Star said it will use in next Thursday’s paper.


    Email from Marcus Brandt (USA):

    21 May 2017
    I find it curious that the Press is somewhat selective about what stories it deems fit to print about the Cathedral. The Civic Trust press release seems like a natural. It’s to the point and is the voice of a Chch Heritage organization of long standing. It deserves to be in the public sphere that the Fourth Estate is obliged to provide.
    But then again, they never bothered to print a single word about UNESCO’s call that the Cathedral must be saved. Other NZ papers picked up the story and we brought it to the Press’s attention, but nothing was printed.
    Curious indeed.

    PS…yes, Hayden’s letter was a gem.


    Letter to the editor at The Press:

    19 May 2017
    Anglicans lacking faith?
    Faith, faith and more faith is my answer to Noel Dunlop’s question, ‘‘Does the [Anglican diocese] have solutions to come up with the shortfall in funds to cover the cost of restoration?’’ (May 13).
    Since when have so many of our church-going Anglicans been so lacking in faith? How acutely today’s church-going Anglicans seem to differ from our founding fathers. Today’s church-going Anglicans could never have founded a city like ours or a province like ours.
    Our modern variety seems even to lack faith enough to imagine how inspired men and women of many faiths and none will rebuild Canterbury’s heritage cathedral for them, while the modern Anglican elite sits around turning every penny a thousand times, playing for time.
    But time is not on their side, since the cathedral issue is greater than today’s ‘‘churchgoers: and the anglican ‘‘elite’’, who are here today and gone tomorrow.

    Haydn Rawston



    The problem personified:

    Victoria Matthews, Canadian, Anglican Bishop and fraught bastion.
    Photo: Joseph Johnson/Fairfax NZ


    At Twitter:

    Last updated 13:29, May 21 2017
    The Press: Christ Church Cathedral decision won’t be made until September, as decision-making power transferred
    By Nick Truebridge
    Delays in deciding what to do with Christ Church Cathedral are holding up development around Cathedral Square. A decision on the future of the earthquake-damaged Christ Church Cathedral will not be made until at least September and will be made by a committee of diocese parishioners and priests. This is the latest holdup in what has become a highly controversial topic in Christchurch’s central-city rebuild, complete with accusations of “sham” negotiations and “delay tactics”. Meanwhile, developers with property interests around Cathedral Square say they will not make decisions on their developments until a decision on the decaying cathedral is made. A decision on the quake-damaged Christ Church Cathedral will not be made until September, Bishop Victoria Matthews has told the city’s Anglican Diocese. Trustees have been considering a Government offer to help with cathedral restoration. The deal involves the majority of the $104 million construction cost of restoration being funded by the Anglican’s $42m insurance payout, a $10m government grant, a $15m government loan and a $15m funding pledge from the Great Christchurch Buildings Trust (GCBT). Cont/


    The Press’s claim about “developers with property interests around Cathedral Square say they will not make decisions on their developments until a decision on the decaying cathedral is made” is not 100% correct, excuse me, because Invercargill-based Geoffrey Thomson (the owner of Distinction Hotels) has more progressive ideas! As mentioned at another thread here, Thomson is no slouch – he’s opening a new Distinction Hotel on Cathedral Square at Christchurch in early 2018:,960,1419,0/distinction-hotel-coming-to-christchurch.html

    “The Distinction Hotels NZ group own and manage ten superior 4 to 5 star properties under the Distinction Hotels brand in both the North and South Island’s of New Zealand. These locations include Whangarei, Hamilton, Rotorua, Palmerson North, Wellington, Fox Glacier, Lake Wanaka, 2 hotel properties in Te Anau, a new luxury property in Dunedin and another in Christchurch set to open in early 2018.”

  7. Elizabeth

    At Twitter:

  8. Elizabeth

    Govt urged to act on Christ Church Cathedral decision
    From Checkpoint, 5:46 pm today Link
    The Greater Christchurch Buildings Trust warns if the government doesn’t step in and force a decision before September, the quake damaged building will remain in a state of decay for years to come.
    Audio | Download: Ogg MP3 (3′ 10″)

  9. Elizabeth

    From: Mark Belton [Restore Christchurch Cathedral]
    Sent: Thursday, 25 May 2017 7:21 p.m.
    To: [RCC mailing list]
    Subject: Cathedral Announcement….

    Winston Peters is speaking about breaking the cathedral impass on Sunday at 1.30 pm in front of the Cathedral.

    The politicians have said they are working on a cross party agreement on how to resolve the cathedral issue.

    Peters has been the most forthright supporter of the cathedrals restoration. Prior to the last electionhe said he would make restoration part of any coalition agreement he would agree to.

    He should be buoyed by our presence and support….we need a strong presence



    Mark Belton & Tim Preston
    Restore Christchurch Cathedral

    At Facebook:

    “Six years of dilly dallying
    Buck passing
    Arguments and obfuscation
    And still the cathedral stands untouched.

    See you in front of the Cathedral – rain, hail or shine.” –Winston Peters

    • Hype O'Thermia

      I noted the threat that permission to demolish would not be granted readily.
      My immediate reaction was, aha, another way Madam Bish can achieve demolition – by neglect.

  10. Hype O'Thermia

    Yes, La Bish is doing her “damnedest” to ensure that it progresses at max speed past the point of no return, meanwhile distributing red herrings and forcing everyone else to loaf around at her lordly ladyship’s pleasure.

  11. Elizabeth

    The latest emailed via Celia Tripp, Christchurch:

    The latest!!! 
    The working party report has been released.

  12. Elizabeth

    The latest emailed via Celia Hogan, Christchurch:

    The latest!!! 
    The working party report has been released.

    Christ Church Cathedral shortfall could be raised in five years, Government report says

  13. Elizabeth

    Story at 1 News this evening:

    MP’s try and hasten decision on fate of quake-damaged Christchurch Cathedral
    31 min ago
    Reporter: Alison Pugh 
    The meeting comes as the Government releases recommendations that the church be restored.
    Source: 1 NEWS

    Watch video here:

  14. Elizabeth

    This came in to grand applause:

    Time to take to the Christ Church Cathedral with a blunt edge
    By Martin Van Beynen
    Last updated 12:04, May 26 2017
    OPINION: Bluntness is not much valued in New Zealand.
    But if any dilemma needs some of this under-appreciated quality it is the Christ Church Cathedral saga.
    Skirting around the issue with polite circumlocution hasn’t got us anywhere and it’s high time we started talking brass tacks.
    The first thing to say is that the city of Christchurch can’t trust the Anglican Church, currently headed in Christchurch by the reclusive Bishop Victoria Matthews, to make the right decision.
    If any evidence of the church’s unsuitability to make the decision is required, we need go no further than this week’s epistle from Bishop Matthews as it appeared in The Press.
    If she had said in blunt terms that the church owned the land, would make its own decision and everyone could take a running jump, then I would have said, “go girl” or something similar.
    Instead the missive is full of passive-aggressive self justification, avoidance of the issue and sneaky blame pointing.
    For instance Bishop Matthews says one of her favourite questions “to ponder is, What do people mean when they say our cathedral in the Square is an icon?”
    Well, let me lay this out for the bishop and forgive me, if you will, for mansplaining.
    The cathedral is foremost a building which occupies a pivotal place in Christchurch’s most important public space in the city. As a result, it’s the building most frequently associated with the branding of the city and has connections with the past and present.
    The cathedral’s original function as a place of worship has dwindled because, let’s face it, nobody goes to church anymore, and its alternative roles have taken up the slack as the city becomes denser and more people friendly. In a city where heritage takes on greater meaning, the cathedral is even more central to the city’s architectural fabric.
    The square would actually work much better without a cathedral in its eastern quarter. If the Anglicans want to build a new church, that’s fine but it doesn’t need to be in the square. The church could donate the land and ruins to the city, take the insurance money and carry on business somewhere else.
    So it’s the building, the history, the place in the landscape that far out weigh any function as a place of worship. The church might be the registered proprietor of the land but the city owns the building in everything but the documentation.
    We already know the bishop prefers demolition and a new cathedral. We are therefore looking at a ludicrous situation where the Anglicans and the Catholics want to erect two new edifices for their minuscule surviving congregations.
    Here’s an idea. Why don’t the churches pool their resources, build a nice church they can both use and use the rest of the money to build housing for the homeless and mentally ill. Or why don’t the two churches lease the restored cathedral for their services, which aren’t that different, in a spirit of religious harmony.
    Carrying on with our blunt speak, we should also stop pretending there are a number of realistic options on the table.
    The only intelligent and sensible way forward is to restore the cathedral to its former state. We need to arrest the fiction the church has any real say in the matter.
    As I’ve mentioned, anything other than full restoration forfeits the right of the church to be in the city’s most important public place. It’s like the Parthenon in Athens. No longer of any real use but still deserving of its place as long as it’s the original article. 
    Too hard? A workforce with all the right skills is just down the road. It will soon finish most of the restoration and strengthening work on the Arts Centre and could simply pack up and move to the square.
    Too expensive? Money for these things can always be found. As a ratepayer I don’t mind stumping up some of the money even if an extra special cathedral levy has to be imposed. But we shouldn’t forget the cathedral is a national asset and has a call on national taxpayer funds. It’s not only a Christchurch icon but, like the  Church of the Good Shepherd at Lake Tekapo, a national one.
    The good bishop talks in her sermon this week of a “hurting city” and “the pain of the people suffering”. She calls for a return to the heroic period of just after the earthquake when “we actually … wanted to help one another”.
    Dear oh dear. What planet is this woman on? This hand-wringing and diluting the issue with a whole lot of irrelevancies is just what is not needed to resolve the cathedral saga.
    Here’s what should happen. Bishop Matthews should do the heroic thing and resign. Restoration work should commence as soon as contractors are available. The Citizens’ war memorial should be moved from the site to some where it is the focus rather than a sideshow.
    I’m not in favour of any land confiscation as this will inevitably lead to years in the courts. In this case the church should bow to the will of intelligent people. If you will.

    *Bolding by whatifdunedin

  15. Hype O'Thermia

    Martin Van Beynen has nailed it. SO nailed it.

  16. Elizabeth

    RNZ Published on May 25, 2017
    Chch Cathedral rebuild achievable, new report shows

    Chch Cathedral rebuild achievable, new report shows
    From Checkpoint, 5:15 pm on 26 May 2017 Link
    The Anglican church would only have to contribute the money it received in its insurance payout in order for Christchurch’s cathedral to be restored.
    Audio | Download: Ogg MP3 (4′49″)

  17. Elizabeth

    The Press 27 May 2017
    Cash could be raised in five years
    By Charlie Gates
    A Government-commissioned report by the Cathedral Working Group estimates a funding shortfall for the restoration of Christ Church Cathedral could be filled in five years. A funding shortfall of more than $50 million for restoration of the Christ Church Cathedral could be raised in three to five years, according to a Government’s working group report on the building.
    The Working Group report, released under the Official Information Act this week, was delivered to the Government in December. The group was tasked by the Government in July last year to develop a feasible and costed plan for restoration of the cathedral. The report includes advice from fundraising consultancy AskRIGHT about the feasibility of raising $55m for the restoration. Restoration of the cathedral is estimated to cost about $104m. It would be funded by the Anglican’s $42m insurance payout and a $10m government grant. That leaves a $52m funding gap.
    The report sets a fundraising target of $55m. That would be ’’formidable’’, but achievable, it states. ‘‘If the guidance is followed the entity responsible for raising the funds can proceed with a high degree of confidence of success.’’ The report also states that the Great Christchurch Buildings Trust (GCBT) has ‘‘confirmed and identified’’ donations worth $13.7m.
    In our view, a change in ownership would spark another series of acrimonious debates.
    Read the full news story at the PressReader, go to

    *Awaiting Stuff link to the above story. -Eds


    Last updated 05:00, May 27 2017
    The Press: Lost the plot? These 19 questions will get you up to speed on the Christ Church Cathedral saga
    By Charlie Gates

    Confused by the cathedral saga? Get right up-to-date on with our Q&A.
    [the questions]

    Why should I care?
    How did we get here?
    What happened to the cathedral in the quakes?
    What did the Anglicans do then?
    So, why didn’t they demolish the whole thing?
    What did the Anglicans want to build on the cathedral site?
    When did the Government get involved?
    Why did the Government get involved?
    So what did Brownlee do?
    Then what did Brownlee do?
    What happened?
    What was in the second deal?
    Have Anglicans accepted the deal?
    What is a synod?
    Is the end in sight?
    What happens if the Anglicans decide to demolish and build a modern replacement?
    What does Nicky Wagner want?
    What does the mayor want?
    What does the bishop want?

    Go to this link for the answers:

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