It’s known as the Cardboard Cathedral. But New Zealanders aren’t stupid, and suggestions by the Daily Mail that it’s already got wet and fallen down are offensive and stupid. The cardboard parts are those enormous hollow pillars holding up the roof, and they’re well steeped in resin and other preservatives; while round the bottom the vestry and other rooms are the metal containers that New Zealanders usually bring in as temporary offices when there’s an earthquake.
It may not be wonderful, but it works, particularly as a worship centre for the community here. It even has its charms and its benefits – after all, they’re not having to sink money into employing specialist stone masons like many churches have to do in England. There are many vicars back there, and their communities, who’d be keen to have the opportunities that this place offers – though the politics around restoring the Old Cathedral is something they could do without. The Christian image of ‘a pilgrim community on the move’ is one worth having in mind here… though you might think with this new building they’ve actually stopped moving for a while.