Christchurch is "evenly split" on whether the earthquake-crippled Christ Church Cathedral should be bowled or rebuilt, a church-commissioned survey has found.
It's been more than six years since the Gothic-style 136-year-old cathedral was badly damaged in the 6.3-magnitude February 22, 2011 earthquake that devastated the Garden City.
Arguments over whether the building in the heart of Christchurch should be restored to its former glory, partly-reinstated, or demolished and replaced with a modern new building have raged between the church, heritage campaigners, and the wider public over the past six-and-a-half years.
Today, a survey commissioned by Church Property Trustees (CPT) said there was limited support for taxpayer or ratepayer funding of the reinstatement option.
CPT general manager Gavin Holley said that the overwhelming message received was that people want something done soon - a sentiment he says is shared by the Anglican diocese and CPT.
"Until now, the public debate on the future of the Christ Church Cathedral lacked robust evidence about informed public preferences," Holley said.
"There has been limited public understanding of the consequences of the different options.
"For that reason, CPT commissioned extensive research on public preferences for the cathedral among the residents of Greater Christchurch."
Holley said results of the survey - carried out by independent Christchurch-based company Research First - are clear.
"There is no evidence of an 'overwhelming desire' for the cathedral to be reinstated, as has been claimed by some parties. Instead, when people are better informed, their preferences change.
"The 'informed choice' result shows the community is almost evenly split on new build versus reinstatement.
"The survey clearly showed the importance of informed choice."
While 58 per cent of people initially wanted to see the cathedral reinstated, when they were given information on the consequences of their choices, nearly 23 per cent changed their mind.
"Once people understood the consequences, such as the costs of reinstatement, the timeframe to build a contemporary cathedral, and that a new build would not require any government or council funding, 49 per cent preferred a new build, while the number preferring reinstatement dropped to 43 per cent," Holley said.
Bishop Victoria Matthews last month announced that a decision over the derelict building would be made by the church's synod, made up of 200 clergy and elected members of the local diocese, in September.