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The cathedral was damaged in the September 2010 earthquake and reopened soon after. However, the February 2011 earthquake devastated the building.
The building had long stood as a symbol of the lack of progress for the city's rebuild, but now, more than 10 years on from the first earthquake, work was well under way on the site, overseen by the Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Trust.
The Herald was taken on a tour of the cathedral site by project director Keith Paterson to see what work was being done.
Much of that work involved stabilising the structure.
At the front of the building – the west wall – timber bracing had been put up. That wall, including its large rose window, collapsed following the quakes. Facing timber had also been installed in preparation for permanent stabilisation frames.
On the southwest transept, the first part of stabilisation work was under way.
Then, long steel bars would be drilled into the wall to connect the frames to the building – core samples had been taken from the wall to check for voids.
On the other side of the building, similar work was being completed, with large foundations put in place to support a structure that would clamp on to the building.
Paterson said the building also needed to be cleared of vermin.
"We have a pigeon problem.
"Unfortunately they have inhabited the building for the last eight years and have contaminated it."
Pigeons were not the only natural encroachment that had to be dealt with - parts of the roof had collapsed on the northern side of the building resulting in "an internal garden".
Aside from the stabilisation work, efforts were being made to preserve the heritage of the building – including its contents.
"All of our silver chalices...our processional crosses, the bishop's crosier...things that were very important to the church," she said.
But much remained.
"There is a huge range of material that is in there – there is also a lot of material the condition of which we don't know because a lot of rubble was moved around in the nave by USAR when they were making sure nobody had been killed or trapped."
Part of May's job involved making sure items found in this stage of the reinstatement were carefully removed, recorded, and stored.
"I was standing with the stonemason...he was going through one pile I was going through another, he held up a piece and said to me 'look at this' and I said 'I think I've found the other half of this'...he handed it to me and we put them together and we had a whole face," she said.
There was still a big question mark over how much the project would cost. An estimate in 2017 was around $104m, made up of the church's insurance money, the Crown and council contributions, grants, and fundraising efforts.
The former Anglican bishop, Victoria Matthews, initially wanted to demolish it and build a replacement, at the time saying there were much greater concerns facing the church, including child poverty and climate change.
He said it was also not possible to state a firm timeframe for how long the work would take.
"The nature of the work is artisan and it's not conventional construction. As a result, one thing has to be done before the next and that is why it's a wee bit tricky to predict just exactly how long it will take... but my best estimate is about 7-8 years.
"At the moment sitting here in the square is a symbol of a lack of progress - what we can see is progress has started."