Reflecting and giving thanks in a Place to Remember

21 February 2017

A city, a region, a nation and an international community impacted by the Canterbury Earthquakes will come together tomorrow to mark the sixth anniversary of the deadly quake and dedicate Oi Manawa Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial.

The Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial Dedication and Civic Memorial Service starts at 12 noon tomorrow, February 22, at the Memorial site on the Ōtākaro/Avon River, in the area bordered by the Montreal Street Bridge, Durham Street, and Cambridge and Oxford Terraces.

The Memorial will be a place for people to reflect on the devastating earthquakes that changed Canterbury and its communities forever, honouring those who lost their lives on 22 February 2011, and acknowledging those who were seriously injured and everyone who helped in the rescue and recovery operation.

The service includes:
- The names of the 185 people who died in the earthquake being read in an order reflecting their arrangement on the Memorial Wall, an arrangement that has been guided by the wishes of their bereaved families.
- A minute’s silence will be held 12:51pm, the time that the devastating earthquake hit.
- The Memorial Wall on the south bank of the Memorial site will be unveiled by first responders, in recognition of their contribution to the rescue and recovery following the February 22, 2011 Earthquake.
- Bev Edwards, representing people physically and psychologically injured in the earthquakes, will read the Dedication.

Families from around the world who lost loved ones on this day six years ago, and those who were seriously injured will join local and national dignitaries and first responders as invited guests, along with dignitaries from countries which lost people in the quake, and those that sent rescue and recovery teams to help in the days and weeks following the devastating earthquake. Many of these first responder groups and dignitaries will also lay wreaths at the service.

Ōtākaro Limited, Christchurch City Council, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and the Ministry of Culture and Heritage have worked together to deliver the Memorial.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel says tomorrow will be an opportunity to come together and quietly reflect.

“The impacts of the quakes went right through the country, and around the world for those who lost loved ones in our city on this day six years ago. It is a time to reflect on our shared sense of loss and also to give thanks for the incredible work that emergency services did in our city after the quakes.”

Ōtākaro Limited Chief Executive Albert Brantley says he is grateful to the people who have provided important input to the Memorial over the years—the bereaved families, people who were injured and other stakeholders.

“Since 2013 dozens of pieces of correspondence have been translated into five languages and sent to a group of more than 300 affected people in 15 different countries. Incorporating the wishes of these people has been a very important part of creating this Memorial,” he says.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Chief Executive Arihia Bennett says the unveiling of Oi Manawa Canterbury National Earthquake Memorial is a positive step forward following an extended period of upheaval.

“Making sense of disaster requires us all to come to terms with our loss and to remember those who continue to suffer. The way we do that varies between cultures and individuals - there is no one-way for people to heal,” she says.

“Oi Manawa, The Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial, will be a place where all people can spend time reflecting and honouring those who lost their lives, or were injured in the earthquakes. It will be somewhere people can contemplate and learn new ways to cope with the trauma they have experienced.”

A Facebook page www.facebook.com/canterburyearthquakememorial has information and updates on the Memorial, and the event will be livestreamed at http://www.canterburyearthquakememorial.co.nz/2017-commemoration/commemoration-information/

For further information on the Memorial and the event visit the online media kit at www.ccc.govt.nz/earthquakememorial