A Christchurch heritage trust says important buildings are being demolished that could be saved if the owners asked for grants and donations.
The latest to go is the 119-year-old Chinese Methodist Church in Merivale, which is listed as a highly significant heritage building.
A church spokesperson says it couldn't afford to pay for the $1.25 million insurance shortfall to salvage the building, so there was no choice but to demolish it.
Church leaders were told by building inspectors there wasn't enough money to go around, so didn't bother contacting heritage groups.
But the Canterbury Earthquake Heritage Buildings Fund Trust says the church should have explored all options.
Chairperson Anna Crighton says she can't guarantee the trust would have been able to cover all the shortfall, but the rest could have been found through donations.