Christchurch cathedral

Christchurch cathedral before the earthquake

On Saturday, the Canterbury Anglicans voted to restore the broken cathedral. The cathedral was badly damaged in the earthquakes nearly 7 years ago. Since then it has been gradually deteriorating while arguments have gone back and forward about what to do with it. The cathedral belongs to the Anglican church and the Anglicans wanted a new cathedral. Many local people wanted the cathedral repaired and restored.

It is a Category 1 heritage building which means it is a valuable old building because of its age and beauty. It is also situated in the Square which is the heart of Christchurch city. Before the earthquake, the Christchurch City Council used a picture of the cathedral on its letterhead. So it was a symbol of the city.

The cathedral is more than 150 years old. The first European settlement of Christchurch was in 1850. Not long after that, the local European people decided they wanted a cathedral and the building started in 1864. It is a style called Neo-Gothic. Neo- means new so it was a 19th century model of mediaeval architecture which was popular for many old cathedrals in Europe.

Finally, on Saturday, the representatives of the Anglican church in Canterbury voted for restoration. Of course, money was one reason they gave up the idea of a new cathedral at a cost of $50m or more. Instead this restoration will probably cost $104m. However, the government has offered to help with $25m, the Christchurch City Council will give $10m, insurance will pay $42m and the local group wanting to save the cathedral have promised at least $13.7m. Then the city will fundraise for the rest of the money.

It could take 7 years to restore it, or maybe even longer but at least locals will be happy to know that something is happening to their beloved building.


• Anglican (adj, n) – Church of England
• restore (v), restoration (n) – return the building to its original condition
• deteriorating (v) – getting worse
• heritage (adj, n) – something old and valuable which is passed down from one generation to another
• letterhead (n) – name of company, picture at the top of a sheet of paper
• mediaeval (adj) – Middle Ages, period between 12th and 16th centuries
• architecture (n) – building design
• fundraise (v), fundraising (n) – to ask people for money
• beloved (adj) – something which is loved, someone who is loved


  1. Hi, it seems the audio clip is missing.

  2. Sorry about that. I can’t do anything about it as I’m away from my home computer at the moment.

  3. Hi, this article helped me a lot to understand what had mattered in the course of decision. Thank you.

  4. Good to know it is useful

Leave a Reply