“Plan to move war memorial sparks dissent among Christchurch RSA groups” The Press Online Article

Plan to move war memorial sparks dissent among Christchurch RSA groups- the Press.

"....A proposal to move the Christchurch war memorial has been opposed by one of the largest Returned Services Association (RSA) groups in the city.

The Papanui RSA voted to oppose a plan to shift the Citizens War Memorial from Cathedral Square to Cranmer Square because the move would lower its "aesthetic, cultural and spiritual value". ...

"... Christchurch Civic Trust deputy chair Ross Gray, who is leading a campaign against the move, said the Papanui RSA vote was significant.

"The Papanui RSA is considerably larger than the Christchurch RSA," he said.

"We oppose this notion that you can move an important heritage item from Cathedral Square and stick it in another iconic and important space like Cranmer Square." ..

Ross Gray is also Deputy Chair of Historic Places Canterbury.

Protected Heritage Buildings Make Up Just 00.25% Of The Total Christchurch Building Stock

Historic Places Canterbury has data that backs strong public arguments for Heritage Retention

The following article appeared in the HPA Oculus September 2019 Newsletter.

Historic Places Canterbury (HPC) has found that only just one quarter of one percent of the total number of Christchurch Buildings have heritage protection.

Historic Places Canterbury using the Christchurch City Council data has found that scheduled Heritage Buildings (under the District Plan) make up a risible and paltry 00.25% of the total number of Christchurch Buildings.

In the Christchurch Central Business District we found the Heritage Buildings make up just 5.5% of the total number of buildings. (This percentage will drop significantly as new buildings are built on the empty sites.)

HPC considers that having such statistics is a great public talking point in any Public Debate about Built Heritage.

Firstly, we can authoritatively refute any claims, made or implied, that there are too many heritage buildings being protected. It would be hard to argue 00.25% is anything but a very small number.

Secondly, we can argue that as we have so few protected Heritage Buildings, authorities and developers should be protecting them as they are quantifiably rare in number. Taking as an example the CBD with 5.5% being Heritage Buildings means that 94% of the Buildings have no protection and can be developed.

Thirdly, we can argue that as the number and percentage is so low and are qualitatively rare, the Christchurch City Council and Heritage New Zealand should be vigorously defending any attempts to demolish protected Built Heritage.

Fourthly, as our Built Heritage is so scarce, the Christchurch City Council (and HNZ) should be making a real effort to add suitable Heritage Buildings to the District Plan for protection HPC respectfully suggests that Historic Places Aotearoa's Membership Organisations conduct a similar exercise.

Such statistics (or raw numbers) can be used to rebut the Developers’ public arguments against protecting a heritage building as it shows there is often a local abundance of unprotected buildings they can focus on and leave the precious few Heritage Buildings alone.

In addition using a specific local statistic provides a strong argument as to why local councils (and Heritage New Zealand) should be working harder to protect and save unequalled local heritage at hearings etc and by increasing the number of buildings being scheduled/listed.

If local statistics were collated, these local percentages provide great arguments for HPA and its Membership Organisations to lobby MPs and Councillors. Heritage Buildings are quantifiably rare treasures so they should have more protection and we should not be complacent in increasing the number which are protected.

It is also worth noting, it appears, based on the Christchurch numbers, that despite being a very small percentage of the total number of Buildings, Listed Heritage has a (huge) disproportionate influence on our Tourism marketing and City/Town/District's marketing identity and branding.

The following are the raw numbers for Christchurch:Christchurch has scheduled 573 Heritage Buildings from a total of 22,3927 Christchurch Buildings in Total (within its TLA boundary) i.e. 0.25%

The Christchurch CBD has 127 Scheduled Heritage Buildings.The Christchurch CBB has in total 2,579 Buildings ie only 5.5% are protected.

Bishop’s decision to demolish the Basilica, the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Christchurch- Historic Places Canterbury Media Release

Historic Places Canterbury Media Release: 

5thAugust  2019

Bishop’s decision to demolish the Basilica, the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Christchurch-

Mark Gerrard Chair of Historic Places Canterbury:

“Historic Places Canterbury is very disappointed to hear that Bishop Martin has chosen to demolish one of our finest neo-Classical Buildings.”

“The Basilica is one of New Zealand’s most iconic and beautiful neo-classical buildings.”

“George Bernard Shaw preferred the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Christchurch to our Christ Church Cathedral.”

“Historic Places Canterbury is surprised the Bishop appears to have lost faith in the cost of restoration of this unique beautiful heritage building”

“The Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Christchurch has for many generations been a beacon of faith and inspiration. Today we are left with the impression that cost and location are more important considerations.”

"Christchurch has lost many special heritage buildings under the CERA Section 38. CERA’s legacy still lives as it is being used to demolish a heritage building and bypass the RMA. "

Mark Gerrard
Chair Historic Places Canterbury

“Fight looming for Catholic church over decision to demolish Christchurch’s Catholic cathedral” The Press Online

"Fight looming for Catholic church over decision to demolish Christchurch's Catholic cathedral" The Press Online

"Heritage advocates are vowing to fight a decision to demolish Christchurch's historic Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. ..."

" ... The decision has upset heritage advocate Anna Crighton, who said there was outrage in the community and she was ready to fight for the building's survival. ..."

" ...Her stance was supported by Historic Places Canterbury. 

Chairman Mark Gerrard said the organisation would be exploring all means to fight the proposed demolition. 

"Historic Places Canterbury is surprised the bishop appears to have lost faith in the cost of restoration of this unique beautiful heritage building."

The cathedral had been a beacon of faith and inspiration for many generations, he said.

"Today we are left with the impression that cost and location are more important considerations." ...


"Cash donated to Christchurch Catholics not ring-fenced for heritage church restoration" The Press online article.


“Heritage Buildings and Sites Reference Group” Historic Places Canterbury Public Forum Submission to The Social, Community Development and Housing Committee Christchurch City Council

Historic Places Canterbury Public Forum Submission to

The Social, Community Development and Housing Committee 

Christchurch City Council

31 July 2019


Thank You for hearing our Public Forum Submission

Historic Places Canterbury (HPC) wishes to request that the CCC set up what we are provisionally calling a "Heritage Buildings and Sites Reference Group”.

HPC considers a Reference group with appropriately qualified individuals would be useful for the CCC Staff and Councillors wishing to seek advice from those with heritage expertise.

It could be useful for a number of roles such as:

  1. Advising on the Provincial Council Buildings (replacing its defunct(?) Advisory Group), 
  2. Review of Policies for District Plan Statements of Significance etc.
  3. Peer reviewing the work done for the District Plan,  
  4. Heritage Buildings under EOI. The Reference Group would be useful for providing feedback/comment on the development plans where seeking public comment is precluded under the Tendering Process.
  5. Provide independent advice to the Councillors
  6. Provide commentary where a full Engagement or Consultation is not practical or where expert advice is sought.

HPC wishes to nominate Dr Ian Lochhead,  Dr Anna Crighton,  Dr Lynne Lochhead, Katharine Watson and a Ngai Tahu representative as members of the Heritage Buildings and Sites Reference Group.

Forming such a Group would be an implementation of the much lauded CCC Heritage Strategy where there is recognition of the importance of the heritage expertise held in the community.

HPC notes the success of the Victoria Square Reference Group where the Plan was refined after Consultation and the feedback/comment was sought on the Design decisions etc in the restoration / construction. 

(The CCC you will recall recommended the Group be kept so it could have a role in the restoration work.)

Mark Gerrard
Chair Historic Places Canterbury

“Christchurch’s Antonio Hall ravaged by fire as heritage fans fear ‘demolition by neglect'” The Press Online

"Christchurch's Antonio Hall ravaged by fire as heritage fans fear 'demolition by neglect' " The Press Online

" ... Ross Gray, deputy chairman of Christchurch Civic Trust and Historic Places Canterbury, said the mansion's potential destruction was "very sad to see". ...

" The building had a lot of potential as a significant asset for the city. All credit to the local neighbours for the work they have done to try and preserve it." ...


CPT to receive re-allocated heritage money from Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust for Cenotaph relocation – MEDIA STATEMENT FROM CCT, RCC, HPC, ICON 10.07.19


 The Christchurch Civic Trust, Restore Christchurch Cathedral Group Inc, Historic Places Canterbury and ICON are shocked and appalled that part of the re-allocated fund of at least $1.5m for heritage from the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust has been awarded to the Anglican Church Property Trustees (CPT) for the relocation of the undamaged Citizens’ War Memorial. 

 At a CCC full council meeting on 27.09.18 these organisations presented vigorous opposition to the proposed Cenotaph relocation (presentations attached) and maintain their opposition. 

 To award uncontested for a purpose yet to be scrutinised through a required public consent procedure shows an arrogant disregard for process and transparency which threatens to undermine the existing goodwill and support for the Cathedral’s restoration. 

 It appears possible that a decision to provide CPT with assistance to remove the Cenotaph from its land was in fact made privately many months ago: if so, this demands the closest public scrutiny. 

 The attached submissions show that the Citizens’ War Memorial is an incredibly significant protected public monument and legally and morally cannot be subject to the whim of either the CPT or the RSA. 

 Note: the conditions set by the CCC for submissions to present deputations on the relocation of the Cenotaph strongly excluded discussion about potential relocation sites (even although the RSA had clearly and publicly already made its preference for Cranmer Square widely known): this is why the attached submissions do not refer to locations – Cranmer Square in particular – much as the submitters had wanted to at the time! 

Ross Gray Deputy Chair Christchurch Civic Trust and Historic Places Canterbury

Mark Belton Co-Chair Restore Christchurch Cathedral Group Inc

Neil Roberts Immediate Past Chair ICON

“Earthquake donations earmarked for Christchurch cenotaph removal” The Press (Online Article)

Historic Places Canterbury Chair Ross Gray quoted.

"... Heritage advocates say removing the cenotaph from its original site would affect its internationally-recognised heritage status. "We would vehemently oppose any move to Cranmer Square," said Ross Gray, deputy chair of Christchurch Civic Trust and Historic Places Canterbury. ..."


NZ Archaeological Week 2019 : The Canterbury events



You view the full program at the following link: