Christchurch is in recovery following a series of earthquakes from September 4, 2010.
The most damaging earthquake was on February 22, 2011; when more than 160 people lost
their lives. The central business district (including Cathedral Square) remains closed
as a result of many weakened buildings that are yet to be demolished.
The Anglican Christ Church Cathedral in the square is (like many other stone built churches in
Christchurch) a post-earthquake shell.
Cathedral Square is regarded as the very centre of Christchurch, attached to the historic
Worcester Boulevard, the metropolis Colombo St, and sits close to the meandering Avon
River. The images and text below show how it was before the earthquakes.
A visit to the Anglican Cathedral was free, while for a small donation you
could climb the 133 steps of the Cathedral's North tower, which formerly dominated the skies of
The Square formed the perfect space for public art. Sitting right at the centre is the statue
of John Robert Godley, the founder of Christchurch and Canterbury. Recently, to commemorate
the new millennium and its coincidence with the 150th Anniversary of this Foundation, an 18m
high sculpture was erected in the square. Forty-two leaf patterns featuring different native
plants make up the Chalice, designed by prominent New Zealand artist Neil Dawson.
Food is always close at hand in Cathedral Square, whether your favoured choice is ethnic fast food,
sit-down vegetarian, or coffee and a bagel, food stalls are open daily, along with a variety of cafes,
restaurants and bars.
Meet new people during a game of chess, or get useful advice at the Visitor Information
Network housed in the Old Post Office.
Make the most of the daily market in the Square. You will find everything from Possum Fur
garments, to affordable backpacker fashions and greenstone (pounamu). There are bargains for
the traveller to be found here, but don't be afraid to check with the vendor that a product is
made in New Zealand.
You could catch a tram from Cathedral Junction, or the Square itself. These historic trams will take
you on a loop circuit of the best central city attractions. Your ticket allows you to hop
on-and-off at different stops over two consecutive days. The romantic-at-heart can dine aboard
in the evening.
The central business district is fenced off. You cannot currently visit Cathedral Square.
Cathedral Square Street View