Tag Archives: Derelict

Derelict decayed buildings

Images of the exterior of Christchurch Cathedral from a couple of months ago. The Cathedral was badly damaged in the February 22nd 2011 earthquake (and other aftershocks) that devastated New Zealand’s third largest city. It’s a surreal experience, the centre around Cathedral Square is mostly unrecognizable, apart from the iconic Christchurch Cathedral.

The Anglican Cathedral was built between 1864 and 1904 in the centre of the city, surrounded by Cathedral Square. It became the cathedral seat of the Bishop of Christchurch in the New Zealand tikanga of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.

Repeated earthquakes have damaged the building (mostly the spire) in the course of its history: in 1881, 1888, 1901, 1922, and September 2010. The February 2011 Christchurch earthquake destroyed the spire and part of the tower, and severely damaged the structure of the remaining building. The remainder of the tower was demolished in March 2012. The west wall suffered collapses in the June 2011 earthquake and the December 2011 quake due to a steel structure – intended to stabilize the rose window – pushing it in.

The Anglican Church has decided to demolish the building and replace it with a new structure – a decision which has become controversial in post-quake Christchurch. Various groups have opposed the Church’s intentions, with actions including taking a case to court. As of January 2015 the judgements have mostly been in favour of the Church, with one more judgement pending. No demolition has occurred since the removal of the tower in early 2012.

There has been opposition to demolition, with heritage groups including the UNESCO World Heritage Centre opposing the action. A local character, the Wizard of New Zealand, made protests calling for the cathedral to be saved. Kit Miyamoto, an American-based structural engineer and expert in earthquake rebuilding, inspected the cathedral after the September 2010 quake. He cited his experience in stating that restoring and strengthening of the building was both “feasible and affordable”.

In April 2012, a group of engineers from the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering launched a petition seeking support of 100 colleagues to stop the demolition. They claimed that legal action was also a possibility. In the same month the Restore Christchurch Cathedral Group was formed and sought signatures for a petition to save the cathedral.

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The Farm

Inside an abandoned former catholic girls school/farm/’rehabilitation unit’ we visited in mid 2013. Founded by a French sisterhood in 1953 -“the girls who came into the care of the sisters often had problems that could not be resolved in their normal environment and needed the loving care of others to restore their sense of self-worth.” The first residents stayed at the ’13’-room Manor built by its previous owner; and over the years the Catholic order embarked on a building program that included a 25-girl dormitory, two-story working/training block, visitor accommodation and sports facility. The last building was an expanded convent for the growing number of sisters at the facility. At it’s peak there were apparently up to 50 nuns in the house, and at least 70 girls. The farm/school/borstal/convent finally closed down in the early 1980’s.

The Abandoned Cathedral

The Cathedral is at the heart of the city, and this earthquake damaged building gets photographed by groups of ‘earthquake tourists’ constantly throughout the day. We had to be patient and wait for the perfect time to enter the Cathedral without being rudely interrupted- which ended up taking hours of standing around and waiting for crowds to disperse- for that perfect moment.

The Cathedral was built between 1864 and 1904 and has been abandoned since the February 2011 that devastated Christchurch with the loss of 185 lives. There is huge support in the city to see the Cathedral rebuilt and strengthened, yet the Anglican Church and the Cathedral’s bishop want to see this place demolished.

The damage to the Cathedral is fairly extensive, with the main tower already being demolished, we hope eventually it can be saved.

Explore completed alongside our friends, WildboyzUE from the U.K.

A Religious College

This old college was a religious secondary school built in a religious “commune” solely by volunteer labour missionaries in the 1950’s who worked for the church. The school has a huge American influence as you can tell by the pictures, it is huge! The amount of things left behind is also astonishing, what a waste!
The school was closed when church leaders accepted that mainstream schools offered “quality education” and the school has started to be demolished to either be converted to farmland or some other future usage.

Our explore here began by cautiously entering a construction zone, in the past we had been greeted by angry residents who live on the commune and we were chased into a wet marsh behind the school, so this time we did our best to avoid that situation. After finding access presumably created by vandals, we were greeted by a huge American style school including full size swimming pool, gym and theatre, all without any signs of vandalism and the only graffiti being that of previous students to the school, making it the best abandoned school we have seen so far in New Zealand.

See our video too.