Archbishop of Canterbury stunned by Christchurch damage

The Archbishop of Canterbury says he is stunned by the scale of damage from the Christchurch earthquakes.

Dr Rowan Williams is in the city as part of his New Zealand tour which finishes in Auckland tomorrow.

Speaking after a bus tour of the city's red zone, the Archbishop says it was important for him to see the remains of the Christ Church Cathedral.

"It's different when you see a great building, historic building, very much loved, in ruins like that. You can read stuff on a page, you can even see pictures, (but) it does feel very different."

After a bus tour of the city's red-zone area, the Archbishop says it was challenging to see the damage firsthand.

"The only thing I've seen like this really is when I was in Beirut a few years ago. But somebody was saying to me just now, 'there are no bomb craters, there's no enemy. You can't hate somebody out there, it's just something that's happened'. And in some ways that's even harder to come to terms with I think."

The Anglican Bishop of Christchurch, Victoria Matthews, says they are extremely privileged to have the Archbishop there.

"To be doing this at this time, when we're all so exhausted, and just wondering where we're going to get the strength to continue on the recovery process, is just wonderful."

The Mayor of Christchurch has dubbed the city 'silicon gully'.

Bob Parker is showing the Archbishop of Canterbury around the city's red zone today.

On a bus tour, he told Dr Rowan Williams about new technological sites being established in the city.

He says it's the beginning of the rebuild of an electronics hub.

Bob Parker says a lot of people don't realise there's a huge number of electronics firms around the city because of the University.

The Archbishop of Canterbury will conclude his visit down under tomorrow in Auckland.

It's his last international duty before standing down after ten years as worldwide head of the Anglican Church.

- Newstalk ZB

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