New Zealand's quake-hit cathedral to be demolished

March 1, 2012 - 10:45 PM
New Zealand Christchurch Cathedral

FILE - In this Feb. 26, 2011 file photo, a relief worker walks past the earthquake-damaged Christchurch Cathedral in Christchurch, New Zealand. The iconic cathedral, which was badly hit in last February's magnitude-6.1 earthquake, will be demolished. Anglican church officials announced Friday, March 2, 2012 that recent aftershocks had further damaged the cathedral, which stands in the center of the city. (AP Photo/Mark Baker, File)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Anglican church officials in New Zealand say an iconic cathedral in downtown Christchurch must be demolished because earthquakes damaged it beyond repair.

ChristChurch Cathedral is the city's best-known building, but its climbable spire collapsed in the February 2011 earthquake that killed 185 people and destroyed many other downtown buildings. Officials had thought part of the building could be saved, but they said Friday that recent aftershocks caused even more damage.

Bishop Victoria Matthews tells The Associated Press the new cathedral will have a different design and cost an estimated 50 million New Zealand dollars ($42 million). She says up to 10 feet (3 meters) of the existing cathedral's base will be kept, possibly for use as a prayer garden.