The Three Options

Cathedral Mary Statue at St Marys Pro Cathedral Edited

It is important a decision of this magnitude is well-informed.

To develop a ‘like for like’ comparison, we tasked independent experts with examining how a Cathedral precinct concept would work on each site. Sites assessed included:

The experts were tasked with evaluating:

  • Whether each site could support an 800-seat Cathedral, a function facility, presbytery, car parking, offices for parish and diocesan services.
  • The cost of building the above on each site.
  • Land values of each site.
  • The ability to expand and adapt St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral.
  • Geotechnical assessments of each site.

The analysis was undertaken by quantity surveyors Rawlinsons, consulting engineers Lewis Bradford and property valuers Telfer Young (now CBRE) and master planning WSP Architects.

Included in the assessment was looking at how selling land at Barbadoes Street and Armagh Street would impact the funds available for the budget. Selling Manchester Street was not considered.

Below are key findings around each of the sites evaluated. We invite you to read this in full before making your submission.

Manchester Street

About Manchester Street

Armagh Street

About Armagh Street

Barbadoes Street

About Barbadoes Street

Barbadoes Street Artist Impression
Image used with permission © Christchurch City Council

“The area around our Barbadoes Street site is changing and already thriving with thousands of students from Ara. The council’s future plans for the area suggest the development of new businesses and residential properties. Our Cathedral precinct will compliment the vibrancy with our thriving parish, education and cultural communities.”

Father Simon Eccleton, Cathedral Administrator

Titiro whakamuri, kōkiri whakamua 
Look to the past, advance into the future.


Our diocese has a historic attachment to the Barbadoes Street site.
The provincial government granted the land to the Catholic Church in 1857 - it was some of the most low-lying and flood-prone land in the city. Due to our forefathers’ passion and dedication the first Catholic Chapel opened there three years later.
The Church of the Blessed Sacrament was built there in 1864 and a year later the city’s first Catholic school relocated to Barbadoes Street opening with 86 pupils.

The site has a rich history of education - many thousands of Catholic children and rangatahi have learned and grown in the many schools that have operated on the site to this very day.
Our diocese was established in 1887 with Reverend John Joseph Grimes SM appointed as the Bishop of Christchurch. On arrival, he named the Church of the Blessed Sacrament the Pro-Cathedral in anticipation of a suitable Cathedral being built.

The Pro-Cathedral was shifted on wooden tracks to make way for the construction of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in 1900 - it was the largest building to be moved at the time.
The site was also a busy trading route for early Māori and many of our Catholic Māori community consider the site sacred as the place where Aperahama Te Aika, Tīpuna Poua, a founding member of the Catholic Church for Māori in Te Waipounamu, was Confirmed.
Our many humble migrant people for many decades generously donated and invested their time and talents into the development of the site and the community.
It also holds significance to the city’s Pacific community. A Samoan Catholic community was established on the site in 1963 and has operated from there ever since.
The Barbadoes site is one which is steeped in history with many identifying it as an anchor for their faith in Christchurch.

For further inquiries, please email cathedralfeedback@cdoc.nz