The controversial deconstruction of the Christchurch Cathedral began on Monday with the arrival of two cranes in Cathedral Square.
The Anglican Church says the 130-year-old building is beyond saving and all but the bottom two or three metres will be pulled down.[image:4880:third:right]
The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority says cranes are now on site to allow the removal of stained glass windows and the cathedral's tower over the next six to eight weeks.
Operations manager Warwick Isaacs says one crane has a man cage that will hang on the outside of the building while the windows are removed and he believes the operation is as safe as it can be. Workers will not go into the building.
Mr Isaacs says a long reach crane will be used to bring down the tower, making it safer for workers.
The deconstruction has been opposed by heritage groups who believe the cathedral can be saved.
Mr Isaacs says the building is badly damaged and the church has chosen the option safest for workers.
A spokesperson for the church says all deconstruction work is expected to be finished by the end of this year.
More than 60,000 people took the opportunity to walk past the cordoned-off cathedral, and the Wizard of Christchurch launched a petition calling for it to be saved.[image:4879:full]