The 11th anniversary of the 22 February 2011 earthquake will pass without a civic service so Mayor Lianne Dalziel is encouraging people to find other ways to acknowledge the significance of the day.
“This year, due to the public health measures that are in place to help limit the spread of COVID-19, there will be no such public gathering. Instead it will be up to each of us to find our own way to mark the anniversary and to remember the people and places we lost,’’ Mayor Dalziel says.
The Mayor will lay a wreath at the Memorial Wall at Oi Manawa Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial on behalf of Christchurch and the names of the 185 people who lost their lives in the earthquake will be read aloud. This will be filmed and released on the Council website on 22 February.
“People might want to mark the anniversary simply by spending time with the people that matter the most to them – their friends and family,’’ says Mayor Dalziel.
“Others might want to visit the Memorial Wall at Oi Manawa Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial or they might want to observe a minute’s silence at 12.51pm – the time the earthquake struck.
“Others may wish to acknowledge the anniversary by joining community events like the River of Flowers. The organisers of this event are inviting people to come to selected locations along the Ōtākaro Avon River and Ōpāwaho-Heathcote River to place a flower in the water. You can find the spot closest to you at flourish.org.nz/river-of-flowers.
“Placing a flower in a road cone is another simple act of remembrance that has become a popular way to mark the anniversary of the earthquake.’’
Mayor Dalziel says going forward commemorations will be scaled back. Memorial services will still be held when there is a significant milestone to be acknowledged, such as the 20th anniversary, or international bereaved families visiting Christchurch - particularly those who could not come for the 10th anniversary.
“Although we are moving away from annual civic memorial services that does not mean we have forgotten the loss and the trauma that people suffered that day – nor have we forgotten the special relationship we have with bereaved families across the globe. We will continue to read the names and observe a minute’s silence on 22 February each year at the Memorial Wall at Oi Manawa Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial. We will never forget.’’