(Update @ 17:05 GMT: Bishop of Christchurch, the Rt Revd Victoria Matthews speaks to Radio New Zealand about the quake here)
The Dean of Christchurch Cathedral, the Very Revd Peter Beck, has said he is fearful that people may have been in the Cathedral's tower when it collapsed after an earthquake struck the city.
Speaking to the BBC's 5 Live Radio programme he said that he had himself been in the cathedral office when the quake struck, but was able to escape and get others out of the Cathedral. However, he warned that others could still be trapped inside.
"We were in the cathedral when this happened," he said, "in the office and fortunately that wasn't too badly damaged, but the tower has collapsed and some of the walls have collapsed and we're pretty fearful there may be some people underneath that."
He said that, while there was no service taking place at the time, the cathedral is one of the biggest visitor attractions in the country so there would still have been visitors inside. "There will have been people in the Cathedral, as well as our own staff of course, when this happened. There's a huge amount of dust, it's like a fog inside there.
"We got all the people out that we could, but there are piles of rubble, especially where the tower has collapsed. We don't know whether there were people in the tower at the time, but I'm fairly fearful of that."
The Dean praised the citizens of Christchurch who he said have been looking out for one another in the midst of this tragedy, but called on the people of England--where BBC Radio 5 Live airs--to pray .
"This is a major major event here of course and we like to reach out to one another. Those of you in England who will, please pray for us."
He added that the cathedral--designed 150 years ago by British architect Sir George Gilbert Scott--said its part-destruction was unimportant in the light of the earthquake's human cost. "A building's a building. The really awful thing is that we've lost lives this time," he said.
Rescuers are working overnight to reach hundreds of people trapped under rubble after the 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit killing at least 65 people.
To listen to the whole interview click here