Christchurch quake victims remembered on 7th anniversary

By Jessica Tyson
Memorial service for the February 22 earthquake. Source: Christchurch District Council.

The 185 people who lost their lives in the February 2011 earthquake were honored today during a seventh anniversary memorial service attended by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

The names of those who passed away were read out during the ceremony held at the Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern attended as a guest and speaker.

“It struck me as I sat in the front row here and listened to those names that perhaps the most important part of this ceremony and service is the reading of those names – a short moment in time that represents and signifies an entire life and a lost future,” she said during her speech.

Ms Ardern thanked emergency services for the role they played on the day of the earthquake as well as the role they continue to play for every emergency and national disaster that has occurred since. 

She also took the time to acknowledge families still experiencing loss and grief.

“It’s a time to reflect and remember the loved ones you lost and the lives they led but also the joy that they bought you.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speak at the service. Source: Christchurch District Council.

Iwi leader Dr Te Maire Tau, of Ngāi Tūāhiri, who has been a strong voice during the rebuild of Christchurch, also spoke.

“These memorials mean something, because as time passes we cement them with our tears and they become emblems of our collective grief,” he said.

“So let us give thanks to the fact that we have gathered here as a community that cares for each other and that today our prime minister, who has taken time to attend our day of remembrance, has come here collectively so we may attend to our severe wounds.”

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel says "the theme of this years’ service, 'keeping their dreams alive', helps us look back at all that we've lost with a sense of hope and aspiration for the future,'' she says.

Hundreds gather at the service. Source: Christchurch District Council.