A civic service marking the 9th anniversary of the deadly 22 February 2011 earthquake has paid tribute to all those who helped in the aftermath of the disaster.
“Today we gather to remember those who cared for us. At the same time we remember those we lost and all that changed for us as a result of the earthquake that struck our city on 22 February nine years ago today,’’ Mayor Lianne Dalziel told the crowd gathered for the service on the north bank of Oi Manawa – the Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial.
“There are so many stories of those who picked us up when we were down, who listened to us, who hugged us, brought the casseroles and baking, and helped us fix the damage that was wrought.
“Every gesture, no matter how large or small, has helped us on our journey,’’ the Mayor said.
“On this 9th anniversary, we recall all those who were there when we needed them.’’
In a poignant reminder of the earthquake’s toll, the names of the 185 people who lost their lives were read aloud by first responders and representatives of the different nationalities killed in the quake.
Then at 12.51pm – the exact time the earthquake struck - a hush descended over the memorial site as those assembled for the service stood and observed a minute’s silence.
The poem We Remember Them was then read by two representatives from the Quake Families Trust.
As the service drew to a close, people were invited to cross to the south side of Oi Manawa – the Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial to pay their respects at the Memorial Wall.
As people walked across the Montreal Street bridge, some dropped flowers into the Avon River in a final act of remembrance.