Tim Walker’s Cathedral

While the Christchurch rebuild over the years has been steadily progressing, there is one building that remains the centre of dilapidated controversy.

When I heard it had been “…over five years since Christchurch’s devastating quake and the Cathedral is still an eyesore”, my first thought was, ‘Gosh, what a terribly depressing thought…’

My next thought was, ‘Of course if by “devastating quake” they’re referring to the one in February 2011, it’s actually closer to “under five years”, so, you know’.

The reality is though that this is one structure that, although intrinsic to the Christchurch environs, has had little to no rebuild work done to it.

The problem as I currently see it, the problem as I have always seen it, is zealots. These people who hold the Christchurch Cathedral in utmost reverence and only want to see the, comparatively youthful in relation to other historical world churches, structure returned to its former glory, are in fact the same groups of people who have been for (under) five years stymieing the Christchurch Cathedral’s rebuild process.

The other reality is that the aforementioned cathedral, under five years ago, fell beyond the cost of an economically viable reparation job. Since then Christchurch have tried a $5 million disposable cardboard cut-out replacement but still, no significant money has been spent on the Cathedral itself. Christchurch lobbyists have undergone meetings, committees, and referendums related to the Cathedral’s fate – bureaucracy which by now have surely totalled in the vicinity of the millions of dollars – but with no actual progress made.

Christchurch’s religious sector is firm: they want to see the structure rebuilt.

Christchurch’s logical sector is exasperated: they want to start again and use (what’s left of) the insurance pay-out to build a new, a better cathedral.

Christchurch’s religious sector think: it’ll be fine, let the insurance pay-out takes us as far as it’ll go then after that, the good Lord will provide – by which we mean the taxpayer.

Christchurch’s logical sector: as humble atheistic Christchurch homeowners we are not willing to undergo yet another rates increase to pay for the repair of a building that is clearly a write-off and furthermore that we don’t even damn well use, let alone celebrate. (Or something to that effect; I’m really generalising.)

Ultimately the devotees of Christchurch’s cathedral remind me of the Green party: they spend all their energy supporting impractical ideas then the instant sense is put before them, they condemn the notion.

Good luck with your church guys; I refuse to help those who refuse to help themselves.



Article by Tim Walker

Edited by Kath E Droll

Photography by E Lodgie Cal



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