Christ Church Cathedral finally whole almost a decade after 2011 earthquake

For the first time since the 2011 earthquake there is no longer a gaping hole in the front of the Christ Church Cathedral.

A 13 metre high, 18-tonne steel frame was craned into the front of the earthquake-damaged cathedral on Thursday. 

Keith Peterson, the Project Director of Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Project, says it's a huge moment for the city. 

"It's been the iconic miserable story for Christchurch hasn't it, whenever there's a problem you show this view of the cathedral with a gaping hole in it," he told Newshub. 

"So this is all about closing that hole and getting on with the job of reinstating the cathedral."

For the last decade, the exposed rafters have provided a prime roosting spot for the city's pigeon population.

But Thursday's milestone  - complete with a temporary banner -  is about more than just aesthetics.

"That provides stabilisation to the walls and basically secures the end of the building from further damage and rain and hopefully confuses a few pigeons."

The $154 million Reinstatement Project is on track to be completed by 2028.

But as one cathedral rises from the rubble, another is being reduced to it.

The cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament was also damaged in the February 2011 quake, now a shell of its former glory as a digger carefully chips away at it.

The Catholic Diocese is going to build a new cathedral a few blocks north, the $85 million project is still in the planning stages, but they're hoping to have it completed by 2025.