The February 2011 Christchurch earthquake destroyed the spire and part of the tower and severely damaged the structure of the remaining building. The cathedral had been damaged previously by earthquakes in 1881, 1888, 1901, 1922 and 2010.
In late March 2012 work began demolishing the building. A temporary replacement cathedral is being built.
On 15 December 2012 demolition was halted on the cathedral, following the issuing of a judgment by the High Court of New Zealand, which granted an application for judicial review of the decision to demolish made by the church.