A reproduction of HMNZS Canterbury’s bell has been specially cast and gifted to the city of Ōtautahi Christchurch as a symbol of the close connection with the Royal New Zealand Navy forged after the 22 February 2011 earthquake.
HMNZS Canterbury was berthed in Lyttelton Port when the 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck Christchurch.
During the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, the ship played a critical role in helping transport emergency equipment and supplies into the city
“HMNZS Canterbury was there for Christchurch in our time of need and we are very grateful for the help they provided in transporting much needed disaster relief equipment and supplies in the days immediately after the earthquake,’’ says Mayor Lianne Dalziel.
“Crew from HMNZS Canterbury also helped with security patrols around the Lyttelton town centre and fed local residents whose homes were badly damaged and who had no power – they were providing upwards of 700 meals a night.
“Their assistance, and the empathy and kindness they showed for people who were going through an incredibly tough and traumatic time, is something Christchurch will never forget.
“It is an honour to receive this HMNZS Canterbury bell on behalf of the city. It is a symbol of the enduring bond that was forged after the earthquake,’’ Mayor Dalziel says.
Presenting the bell to Mayor Dalziel, the Chief of the Navy, Rear Admiral David Proctor, spoke of the long standing relationship between the city and the Navy.
“Our presence in Christchurch dates back to 1928 when a Reserve Unit was established,” he said. “But well before then, proud Cantabrians were crewing Navy ships just as they do today.
“Having HMNZS Canterbury alongside in her home port and able to assist the province and its people in the immediate aftermath of the tragic 2011 earthquake, is something the Navy will always take immense pride in as a part of the whole of New Zealand effort.”
The bell carries the inscription: HMNZS Canterbury L421. Presented to the City of Ōtautahi Christchurch by the Sailors of Te Taua Moana O Aotearoa, in commemoration of the whanaungatanga between the Navy and the City following the earthquake of 22 February 2011.
Bells have a centuries-long tradition of varied use in navies and merchant fleets of the world. These days, ship bells are usually only rung at ceremonial and memorial functions but in the past they have been used for signalling, keeping time, and sounding alarms.