Christchurch is a vibrant city of contrasts. Once known as the Garden City, it is now rebuilding and reinventing itself.
Explore Christchurch Cathedral’s world-class heritage on a self-guided Multimedia Guide Tour. Alternatively, join a guided tour, departing regularly throughout the day or at Choral Evensong. Check the Known Closures page before visiting for details.
In addition to its role as the seat of the Bishop of Christchurch, Christ Church Cathedral is an important venue for musical performance. Its choir is the only professional boys and men’s choir in New Zealand, and it regularly features at the city’s Floral Festival.
A series of earthquakes have had a significant impact on the cathedral, including damage to the top of its spire in the 16 November 1901 Cheviot earthquake. In response to this the spire was replaced with one made from Australian hardwood sheathed in copper.
Although the cathedral has been damaged in many ways over its history, the February 2011 quake was particularly devastating. It led to the decision to partially demolish the building, with a deconsecration ceremony taking place in November 2011. Since then the cathedral community has worshipped at the transitional ‘cardboard cathedral’.
This was met with a strong response from the wider Christchurch community, with many of those of means and influence (such as former government minister Philip Burdon) joining the nonpartisan protest group Great Christchurch Buildings Trust to oppose the deconstruction. After much debate, legal action and mediation, in September 2017 the church’s Synod voted to restore the cathedral. In October 2020 the cathedral’s Reinstatement Project released concept designs for its restoration, which will include stabilisation and strengthening of the tower and building new centres for hospitality and mission.
The Picture Gallery
The Picture Gallery is an art museum within Christ Church, one of the constituent colleges of Oxford University in England. It houses a world-renowned collection of Old Master paintings and drawings, including the Butcher’s Shop by Annibale Carracci and works by Fra Angelico, Tintoretto and Veronese. It also has a large collection of drawings, including works by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Albrecht Durer.
Visitors to the Gallery are welcome to explore the collections on their own, but it is also possible to book a guided tour with a member of the Gallery staff. These are offered every Thursday at 2.30pm and are free with the price of admission. Group tours can also be arranged, but numbers are limited to 8 people.
The Gallery is open all year round, except for 24 December and the last Sunday in August. Entry is via Canterbury Gate off Oriel Square, only a few minutes’ walk from High Street. Admission is free for the public, but donations are appreciated. Blue Badge holders can park in the nearby Oriel Square carpark for free.
On 8 July 2023 Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu welcomed home a very precious taonga, Te Ra, The Maori Sail. Its homecoming was a very moving event and it took a team of experts from the Gallery and elsewhere in Aotearoa to bring it here. 3D tour Christchurch