A minute's silence has been observed for the 185 people who
were killed in the 2011 Canterbury earthquake, as hundreds
gathered to mark the third anniversary of the tragedy.
It marked a "turning point" for Christchurch, mayor Lianne
Dalziel said during her speech at a memorial service held
today at the Archery Lawn in the city's Botanic Gardens.
"We have been through a lot as a city and there is still much
healing to be done," she said, adding that "sensitivity and
empathy will help guide us through this fourth year".
"Let us unite as we did after the earthquakes. For those of
us who have been able to move on, let us reach out to those
who are still struggling.
"For those who cannot move on, please do not be afraid to ask
for our help... We can get through this together."
Ms Dalziel said she had recently met with families of some of
those who died during quake which devastated the city, who
said they wanted lessons to be learned from the disaster.
"Their overriding message is that we honour the people lost
in the earthquake by learning lessons from what happened and
using the rebuild as an opportunity to make Christchurch a
better place and an example of a truly safe city," she said.
"When someone dies in circumstances that might have been
prevented, one of the only things that can create meaning
from the loss is the knowledge that someone in the future has
been saved from going through the pain of losing someone in
"It is the best way to honour those whose lives were lost."
The legacy of the quake and its aftermath would be how the
city had come together to "do something" to help, she said,
saying it was a "spirit we must encourage".
"It is this sense of optimism and creativity that can be a
legacy of our experience, making Christchurch not only a safe
city but one which enables each one of us to create the life
we want to lead," she said.
"Let us claim our future - remembering our past, honouring
those whose lives were lost or changed forever, acknowledging
the significance of Christchurch being the final resting
place of many from overseas and what that means for their
families, respecting all who make Christchurch their home and
creating for ourselves a sense of place where we all belong.
- Patrice Dougan of APNZ