Out today, as a further consequence of the earthquakes, is the judgement of Justice Chisholm about the appeal against the demolition of the cathedral here in Christchurch. This is what Bishop Victoria has written to the diocese this afternoon:
We have just received the decision of Justice Chisholm about our Cathedral.
We have permission to deconstruct the old Cathedral and build a new Cathedral in the Square, and we are expected to use reasonable speed in doing so. Furthermore we need to assure the Court of our commitment to build a Cathedral in the Square before we can proceed further with the deconstruction. The decision acknowledges that CPT was facing a difficult and complex decision in a tight time frame. We are not required to build in any particular style.
The major deciding point seems to be the difference between building a Cathedral on the present site versus re-constructing the present Cathedral on the present site.
It is a 200-paragraph decision and I will bring to your attention further details at a later time.
But you would not guess this was the case if you read the current headline [aroundabout 4.30 pm] on Stuff.co.nz, "Cathedral demo halted." What the article (at time of writing this post) mischievously leaves out is that the halt is only as long as the diocesan authorities take to satisfy the judge's request that intent to build a new cathedral is established on the current cathedral site. As far as I know it is established, but apparently the judge thinks otherwise.
LATER (6.45 pm) Here is a more balanced take on the judgement from Stuff which better reconciles the situation:
"Christ Church Cathedral has been granted a stay of execution.
A High Court ruling today ordered the planned demolition of the earthquake-damaged landmark be stopped until further notice.
The legal challenge was brought by the Great Christchurch Buildings Trust against building owner, the Church Property Trust (CPT).
The trust, co-chaired by former MPs Jim Anderton and Philip Burdon, sought a binding court ruling on whether the Anglican church's deconstruction plans breached an act of Parliament protecting church buildings.
Its legal advice suggested that, under the act, the church trustees were obliged to repair it.
Justice Chisholm ruled in his written judgement that Anglican leaders were not legally required to restore the cathedral to its original form.
"Unless the terms of the Cathedral trust are varied, either the structure that remains will have to be repaired or it will have to be replaced by another Cathedral.''
"While there must be a cathedral on the site, it does not necessarily have to replicate the cathedral as it stood before the earthquakes occurred.''
But Chisholm also ruled "the future of the cathedral is legitimately in the public arena and is plainly a matter of intense public interest''.
Bishop Victoria Matthews said the CPT was pleased the courts had backed the decision to deconstruct the cathedral and replace with a new building.
''As we have said since March the new design will be a mixture of old and new and it will be beautiful,'' she said.
The CPT would formally commit to building a new cathedral in the square, Matthews said.Architects Warren and Mahoney had already been engaged to work on design, she said."
BUT best of all, I suggest, is Taonga.