Christchurch's city square stands largely flattened and forlorn amid the surrounding rebuild, with the remains of ChristChurch Cathedral emblematic of the loss. The February 2011 earthquake brought down the 63m-high spire, while subsequent earthquakes in June 2011 and December 2011 destroyed the prized stained-glass rose window. Other heritage buildings around the square were also badly damaged, but one modern landmark left unscathed is the 18m-high metal sculpture Chalice, designed by Neil Dawson. It was erected in 2001 to commemorate the new millennium.
The much-loved Gothic ChristChurch Cathedral lies at the centre of a battle between those who seek to preserve what remains of Christchurch's heritage, the fiscal pragmatists, and those ideologically inclined to things new. Despite the nave remaining largely intact, the deconstruction and demolition of the cathedral was announced in March 2012 by the Anglican Diocese. Heritage advocates launched court proceedings to prevent the demolition, and an independent, Government-appointed consultant was brought in to negotiate between opposing parties. Their report concluded that 'replacing the cathedral presents no particular challenges from an engineering perspective'. In effect this has just muddied the waters, and at time of writing no concrete decisions had been made regarding the cathedral's rebuild, demolition, replacement or 'adaptation'. A plethora of opposing views means the wrangling could go on for years.