24 Jan 2017

The Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial that will be dedicated next month has been shaped by many whose lives were most profoundly impacted by the 22 February 2011 earthquake.

An artist's impression of the Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial.

An artist's impression of the Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial.

Designed to be a place for people to reflect on the devastating earthquakes that changed Canterbury and its communities forever, the Memorial honours those who lost their lives and acknowledges those who were seriously injured and everyone who helped in the rescue and recovery operation.

It will be dedicated on 22 February, in a joint event with the annual Civic commemorative ceremony to mark the sixth anniversary of the deadly quake.

The Memorial spans both sides of the Ōtākaro/Avon River, in the area bordered by the Montreal Street Bridge to the west, Durham Street to the east, and Cambridge and Oxford Terraces to the north and south. A Memorial Wall on the south bank is inscribed with the names of those who lost their lives in the 22 February Earthquake and words of acknowledgment, while the north bank is a quieter green space.

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

Ōtākaro Limited Chief Executive Albert Brantley says asking for feedback from bereaved families, those who were severely injured and first responders has been central to the development of the Memorial.

“Their views have shaped every aspect of the Memorial, starting with their strong preference for a space that featured greenery and water. From the development of the north bank to the way the names are arranged on the Memorial wall, the project team has worked closely with many people who were deeply affected by the earthquake every step of the way.”

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel says marking this years’ anniversary at the Memorial site will be very poignant.

“I look forward to standing alongside everyone who experienced the earthquakes or who were affected by them in some way. Together, we will remember and reflect on all we have lost, and again give thanks for all the support we received.”

The names on the wall will remain covered until construction is complete and the bereaved families can view the finished site first at a private blessing ceremony. The words of acknowledgement will be unveiled at the National Dedication.

The 22 February Commemorative Event will be livestreamed on the Council website. A Facebook page has information and updates on the Memorial, and people are encouraged to share their stories of the earthquakes and give thanks to those that helped out at quakestories.govt.nz