View over Christchurch after September 2010 earthquake

Anniversaries and Memorials

In the 10 years since the beginning of earthquake sequence, a variety of memorial and anniversary events have been held, some more ephemeral and others permanent.

A memorial service at Hagley Park was held on 18 March 2011. Thousands attended the memorial at which many officials spoke, including HRH Prince William, Prime Minister John Key and Mayor Bob Parker, but it was the Urban Search and Rescue personnel that received a standing ovation from the crowd.

February 22 Earthquake Memorial Service

National memorial service held in Hagley Park on 18 March 2011. The service held in Hagley Park attended by crowds. Image on screen in the background of earthquake damaged buildings.

Thousands of road cones received flowers on the first anniversary of the 22 February earthquake. Organised by artist Henry Sunderland, this act of remembrance was also observed in Wellington, Auckland and even international in Australia, London, Singapore and Mexico. Flowers have been placed in road cones in Christchurch every year since the first anniversary.

Wishing tree Avonside
Wishing tree Avonside

Two minutes of silence was observed for the first anniversary at over a dozen sites along the Avon and Heathcote river as part of the River of Flowers event. People brought flowers to drop in the river and wrote messages for a Tree of Hope. The River of Flowers continues to be held yearly.

185 Empty Chairs by Peter and Joyce Mejendie was created as a temporary art installation on the site of the Oxford Terrace Baptist Church which was on the corner of Madras Street and Oxford Terrace. An unofficial memorial to those that died as a result of 22 February 2011, it was completed for the first anniversary on the 22 February 2012. The chairs were later moved to Cashel and Madras Streets before moving again to the former site of St Luke's in the City on Manchester and Kilmore Streets.

Oi Manawa Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial was opened on the 6th anniversary 22 February 2017. This was a joint project between the New Zealand Government, Christchurch City Council and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and one of the Anchor projects. The memorial sits on both sides of the river, with the north side as a contemplative park space looking across to the memorial wall on the south side. The memorial pays respect to those that died in the quake as well as those that were seriously injured and acknowledges those that helped after the event and the wider ongoing trauma of Canterbury earthquake sequence.

Memorial garden, CTV site, Madras Street
Memorial garden, CTV site, Madras Street

CTV Earthquake Memorial Park was blessed and opened on the eve of the 7th anniversary. The site is owned by Ōtākaro and they consulted with the families of the 115 people who lost their lives over the design and components for the garden. The garden is part of the east frame anchor project and has been designed for peaceful reflection and includes a water feature, cherry trees, native plants and a commemorative plinth.