The independent Charities Registration Board has registered the Restore Christchurch Cathedral Group Incorporated as a charity.
Courts have previously held that it is charitable to provide or maintain facilities for the benefit of the public. They have also confirmed that, in some circumstances, it is charitable to preserve or restore heritage buildings for the benefit of the public.
The key criteria for being considered 'charitable' in such cases are (in brief) that: the building has sufficient historical or architectural interest; it is only used for charitable purposes; it is accessible to the public; and it isn’t used mainly to provide a private profit.
The Board’s assessment relates to whether the entity met the requirements for registration, not whether the approach endorsed by the entity is the right thing for Christchurch.
The Board is not taking a position on whether or not restoring the Cathedral would in fact be the best outcome for Christchurch.
The Board has registered a number of charities aimed at the protection of heritage buildings and sites, but has also declined to register some, because they didn’t provide sufficient public benefit or access. In this case, the Board considered the Christchurch Cathedral has established heritage value, so advocating for its restoration is charitable.