New Zealand: Judge rules on ChristChurch cathedral payout

[Anglican Taonga] Insurance money from quake-damaged ChristChurch Cathedral cannot be used to fund the transitional cathedral in nearby Latimer Square, a judge has ruled.

However, the Church Property Trustees (CPT) acted in “extraordinary circumstances” in the wake of the earthquakes, says Judge Graham Panckhurst in his ruling released on April 8.

CPT has earmarked up to NZ$4 million (US$3.39 million) of the insurance payout to fund the NZ$5.3 million (US$4.49 million) “cardboard” cathedral, which is scheduled to open late next month.

Judge Panckhurst now wants further information and possibly another hearing before deciding whether or not CPT should be held personally liable for money already spent.

The judge notes that on May 15 last year Peter Graham, a trustee of the Great Christchurch Buildings Trust, told CPT it was “legally bound” to apply insurance proceeds to the maintenance and repair of the Cathedral in the Square.

CPT then sought clarification in the High Court.

In his ruling, Judge Panckhurst wants both CPT and the Great Christchurch Buildings Trust to submit proposals on whether CPT should get “relief”.

A spokesman for the diocese, the Rev. Jayson Rhodes, today pointed out the ruling notes that CPT “genuinely believed they were acting in the best interests of the cathedral congregation”.

Bishop Victoria Matthews added that clarification was needed and the Church was still committed to a transitional cathedral for ministry and mission in the city.

“The life of the cathedral in this city had to go on providing a place of worship as well as a place for the city to gather,” she said.

“The Transitional Cathedral… is a sign of hope for the city and we need to gather away from the Square in order to come back to a Cathedral in the Square.”

Comments

  1. It must be very distressing for Christchurch Cathedral’s Church Property Trustees to be denied access to the insurance monies for the erection of a temporary house of worship and place of refuge and hospitality. I hope the CPT will be able to raise the necessary funds to raise up a new cathedral–permanent or temporary–soon…(Would the ruling have been the same if the “cardboard cathedral” had been erected at the original cathedral site?)

  2. I noticed on a recent tour of Christchurch the existence of an Anglican Church–as I recall St. Michael and All Angels–nearby. Could not this parish be designated as the temporary cathedral? I’d appreciate a note of clarification from someone who knows the local situation better than this one day tourist.

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