The sixth anniversary of the February 22 earthquake is a significant moment for Cantabrians and all those affected by the devastating events of that day in 2011.
The Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Gerry Brownlee and Associate Minister Nicky Wagner say today’s commemorations are particularly important, as the unveiling of the Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial provides those who lost a family member or friend with a dedicated place to remember and reflect.
“The memorial will be a place for people to remember a day that changed Canterbury forever,” Mr Brownlee says.
“It honours the 185 people who lost their lives, acknowledges those who were seriously injured and pays tribute to everyone involved in the rescue and recovery operation.
“The anniversary is a day to remember what we have lost, but also to reflect on the progress made in Canterbury over the past six years,” Mr Brownlee says.
Ms Wagner says the memorial, designed by Slovenian architect Grega Vezjak, features a 112-metre-long wall made up of a 517 marble panels.
“The entrance is marked by a large 265kg piece of pounamu, gifted by Makaawhoio Runanga and Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu,” Ms Wagner says.
“The names of those who lost their lives have been engraved on the Memorial Wall on the south bank of the Avon River, opposite a green space on the north bank.
“The Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial has been a priority for the Government and a key feature of the city’s regeneration.”
The memorial will today be dedicated in a civic service, with the Memorial Wall unveiled by Her Excellency The Right Honourable Governor General of New Zealand, Dame Patsy Reddy.
“The names of all 185 casualties will be read out at 12.51pm, the exact time the earthquake hit.
“After a minute’s silence, representatives from 13 nations directly affected by the quake will lay a wreath, alongside representatives of organisations involved in the rescue and recovery.
“Many of those who lost a family member in the quake attended a small ceremony at the memorial last night, enabling them to mark the occasion and remember their loved ones in private,” Ms Wagner says.