Cathedral Square in Christchurch will partially reopen over the Christmas-New Year period, allowing the public to see first-hand the dramatic change that has taken place in the heart of the city.

The red zone cordon in place at the intersection of Gloucester and Colombo streets is being reconfigured by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) from this afternoon to provide an extended walkway into the square.

A new public viewing area will be set up, providing much closer viewing of the Christ Church Cathedral and surrounds compared to the existing walkway in place at the intersection.

Cera chief executive Roger Sutton said the experience of seeing the extensive damage to the cathedral and loss of surrounding buildings may be difficult for some, but it was important to give people the opportunity.


"I hope people will go along in their holidays and see the square as it is today, and then look forward to the exciting new space it will become at the heart of a dynamic new central city, which we will begin to see unfold in the new year," he said.

"Along with the recent reopening of Victoria Square, this gives residents and visitors alike the chance to experience some of our most treasured places."

The extended walkway and viewing area will remain in place until January 6.