Proposed $10 million grant for ChristChurch Cathedral

Have your say on the proposal to contribute a grant of $10 million to the reinstatement of the ChristChurch Cathedral

Project status: Decision made
Open for feedback: 12 October 2017 to 16 November 2017

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Consultation now closed

Consultation on the proposal to contribute a grant of $10 million to the reinstatement of the ChristChurch Cathedral has now closed. People were able to provide feedback from 12 October to 16 November 2017.

During this time we heard from 1063 individuals and groups. You can read their feedback and the consultation report in the agenda for the Hearings Panel.(external link)

The Hearings Panel for this consultation happened on Thursday 14 December 2017. 

The minutes of the Hearings Panel and decision of Council can be found here.


From the Mayor

ChristChurch Cathedral

When I received the message from the Bishop that the Synod had confirmed the proposal to reinstate ChristChurch Cathedral I felt an overwhelming sense of relief. It was a decision that meant the church and the city could move forward and not spend years in court not knowing when or what the result would be.

I spoke to the Synod in support of the government’s offer and said if they accepted the offer we would begin a public consultation as soon as possible after the general election. We would be asking our residents and ratepayers if they would support a $10m capital grant to retain the heritage and the civic elements of the Cathedral with which we share our name.

As you will know, we were New Zealand’s first city established by Royal Charter 31 July 1856. This required a commitment to build a cathedral - a seat for the Bishop. So the historic connection with the Cathedral is very real.

The wide range of feedback from our communities around the fate of the Cathedral though, clearly demonstrated two things. First, people were divided about the future of the Cathedral – reinstatement or new build. But second, we were united in wanting a decision, because the lack of a decision was holding the city back.

This process of consultation will enable Council to consider the grant, and the terms under which such a grant could be made, from all perspectives. We have chosen a model that spreads the funds for this grant across the city, in an even-handed way over a number of years to minimise the impact on rates and maximise the benefits.

This is not merely a referendum with a simple yes/no. It’s an invitation to provide feedback – the why is just as important as the answer.

I have warmly welcomed the Synod’s decision to reinstate the cathedral as the heart and soul of the city Christchurch. This is your chance to play a part in that too.

Statement of proposal


In response to a request from the Crown – and recognising the heritage and civic value of the ChristChurch Cathedral – the Council at its meeting on 30 June 2017 approved in principle the following support for the Cathedral’s reinstatement:
“A grant of $10 million (spread over the period of the reinstatement) towards the capital cost of reinstatement, to be made available once other sources of Crown and Church funding have been applied to the reinstatement project”.

The Council noted that:
“should the fundraising exceed the amount required for the reinstatement of the ChristChurch Cathedral the Council contribution will be adjusted accordingly”.

The Council’s approval was subject to a number of conditions:

  • the Anglican Synod deciding to reinstate the Cathedral
  • the Crown and other contributors confirming their financial commitment to the reinstatement
  • public consultation and, depending on the outcome and a final decision by the Council, the Council’s contribution being provided for in its 2018-28 Long Term Plan.

The Synod, the governing body of the Anglican Church in Christchurch, has now approved the reinstatement of the Cathedral. This follows an offer from the Crown to provide support for reinstatement, including a contribution from the Council and the confirmation of donor support from the Great Christchurch Buildings Trust.

This Statement of Proposal forms the basis of the special consultative procedure being undertaken by the Council.

Reasons for the proposal

ChristChurch Cathedral is the physical and metaphorical heart of our city. It was a place of worship, a community facility, and a tourist attraction. Even in its current state, it remains a much-loved heritage building.

The Cathedral was badly damaged in the Canterbury earthquakes and, until recently, its future was uncertain, with strongly divided views on what should happen to it.

Both the Crown and the Council believe a reinstated Cathedral will carry a wide set of regeneration and community interests and values. It will make it possible for the building to be used again by its congregation and to support the wider community by enabling progress on the redevelopment of Cathedral Square.

The Cathedral also has high architectural and aesthetic significance, which is recognised by it being a Highly Significant (Group 1) building in the Christchurch District Plan and a Category One Historic Place on the New Zealand Heritage list (a place of special or outstanding historical or cultural significance or value).

What is reinstatement?

Reinstatement is the term used to describe a combination of repair, restoration/rebuild, and seismic strengthening. Some deconstruction would be required to make the building safe.

Reinstatement would involve upgrading and improving the building’s functionality as a place of worship as well as the centrepiece of the city and key tourist attraction.

Details of proposed Crown and Council support

The estimated cost of reinstatement is $104 million ($94m for the building and $10m for a tower).

The Council proposes to contribute $10 million by way of a grant towards the capital cost of the project.

The Crown’s offer of support includes a cash contribution from the Government of $10 million and an interest-free suspensory loan of $15 million.

It also includes:

  • establishing a joint venture with the Church Property Trustees to deliver the project
  • establishing an independent fundraising trust to lead the public effort for the balance of the funds required for reinstatement and for future maintenance.

The balance of the cost will come from insurance (approximately $42 million) and from fundraising. The Great Christchurch Buildings Trust has confirmed pledges of almost $14 million and has signalled that further donations of up to an equivalent amount may be available.

Financial implications


The Council has approved ‘in principle’ a grant of $10 million towards the capital cost of reinstatement. The grant is to be spread over the period of the project and made available once other sources of Crown and Church funding have been applied. It is estimated reinstatement of the main and ancillary buildings will take seven years to complete, and up to a further three years for the tower and spire.

Proposed funding mechanism

The Council proposes that the mechanism used to fund the grant will be an annual targeted rate of $12.00 (inclusive of GST) for each of the Council’s 160,928 rating units, for a period of six years.

As indicated earlier, at the 30 June meeting the Council noted that if the funds raised by the fundraising trust exceeded the amount required for the reinstatement of the ChristChurch Cathedral, the Council's contribution might be reduced or adjusted accordingly.

Should the money collected by the Council and any interest earned exceed what is required for the proposed $10 million grant, the additional funds will be applied to the restoration of Council-owned heritage assets.

What other options did the Council consider?

Council must consider other reasonably practicable options. Other alternatives considered by the Council were to make the contribution a loan to the Church Property Trustees (either with or without interest), or not to make a contribution at all.

Making the contribution a grant was administratively and financially a better option for the viability of the project. It will be undertaken by a joint venture entity that is unlikely to have the additional resources required to meet the cost of repayment.

The risk of not contributing at all was that the Crown offer on its own would not be sufficient to encourage the Anglican Synod to reinstate the Cathedral. Advice provided to the Council was that an application for resource consent to demolish the building would likely result in significant delays and further uncertainty. This would have a significant impact on regeneration of the Square and on the city’s reputation and economy.

The Council believes its proposal fairly balances the various interests involved in the matter. These include the Council’s interest in supporting the Crown offer, the adverse effects of a decision not to reinstate the Cathedral, and the interests of ratepayers. The Council is committed to keeping rate increases to a minimum.

Other relevant information

Under the Crown offer, delivery of the project will be undertaken by a joint venture entity comprising the Church Property Trustees (land and building owner) and the independent fundraising trust. The joint venture will also establish a maintenance and insurance fund at the outset of the project, with an initial allocation of $5 million from the Government.

The Council has discussed whether or not to contribute operating funding and will consider this as part of the 2018-2028 Long Term Plan process. Previous contributions have been made to the maintenance costs of the Cathedral, recognising its heritage value and the economic and tourism benefits it brings to the city. According to research undertaken in 2016, the Cathedral ranked fourth of all visitor experiences.

In addition to its capital contribution the Council has noted that its Chief Executive may consider and provide ‘in kind’ support for the reinstatement project as appropriate.

Other information about the Cathedral and its reinstatement can be found in the following documents:

How to have your say

Consultation is open from Thursday 12 October until Wednesday 15 November 2017.

Written feedback:

  • fill out the online submission form below (preferred)
  • fill out the submission form at a library or service centre
  • email your feedback to
  • post a letter to:

Freepost 178 (no stamp required)
Cathedral Consultation Submissions
Christchurch City Council
PO Box 73017
Christchurch 8154

  • Or deliver to the Civic Offices at 53 Hereford Street. To ensure we receive last-minute submissions on time, please hand deliver them to the Civic Offices.

You need to include these details in your submission:

  • your full name, postal address, postcode and email address
  • if you wish to speak to your submission at the public hearings to be held in late November/early December, please also provide a daytime phone number
  • whether you are completing the submission for yourself or on behalf of a group or organisation. If it is the latter, please include your organisation’s name and your role in the organisation.

ChristChurch Cathedral

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