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Starting about 2pm, a crane was used to lift the first piece of bronzing away from the supporting stonework.
The bronzing and stonework will be slowly deconstructed in stages over the coming weeks and then transported and placed in temporary storage.
From there, it will be repaired and strengthened before being fully reinstated on public land in Cathedral Square.
The Church Property Trustees wrote to Christchurch City Council last year offering to gift the memorial.
The memorial, which commemorates Cantabrians who died in war, needs to be moved from its current site next to Christ Church Cathedral so the reinstatement work on the cathedral can proceed.
Under the arrangement, the council is responsible for identifying a new site for the memorial, providing interim storage for it, and funding and overseeing its repair and strengthening.