Christchurch's Catholic Cathedral to be rebuilt at same site as earthquake-damaged one

Christchurch's Anglican and Catholic cathedrals were both destroyed in the 2011 earthquakes, but the Catholic Church has now announced they're returning to their roots.

The stunning Catholic Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament sat empty and broken for eight years.

The category 1 heritage building was regarded as the finest Renaissance-style building in New Zealand. 

But the 2011 earthquake destroyed it - and where it stood is now a vacant lot.

However, Bishop Michael Gielen has on Sunday announced they're building the next one back at the original Barbadoes St site.

The first Catholic Cathedral was built on Barbadoes St in 1860, as were all subsequent ones since then, but over the past few years there has been a range of other sites considered for the next one.

"We went to the people and we asked them to consider this along with us and 85 percent said they were happy to come back here," Bishop Gielen told Newshub.

And he's excited. "It's a great privilege and responsibility - it's the first Catholic Cathedral to be built from scratch from the ground up."

Christchurch locals Newshub spoke to also think it's a good idea. 

"I think it will be a good use of the site, much better than to have it in town," one said. 

"I think that's a good idea because if it had been in the central city, parking and everything would be a problem," said another.

It's been a long road with some controversial plans and decisions along the way. It's also been a slow process, which the bishop says is the Catholic way. 

"The Catholic Church tends to think in centuries, maybe if they're really moving fast it thinks in decades, and so it's been just over a decade since the last one was badly damaged."

There's still no time frame, no budget and no design plans - but there is a request from the bishop. 

"We ask that people be very generous when it comes to the new one," he said.

It will be a new chapter for the city's Catholics, while the Anglican cathedral's next chapter is still unknown.