22 Feb 2016

Five years on Christchurch remembers

5:39 pm on 22 February 2016

A service has been held to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Canterbury's destructive 6.3 magnitude earthquake.

More than 1000 people gathered at Christchurch's Botanic Gardens for the public ceremony.

They heard from the Governor General and the leader of the Farmy Army, which organised volunteers to help people clean up following the quakes.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said this would be the last time the council would lead the memorial event.

She said the Earthquake Families Trust, which is made up of family members of the people who died or were seriously injured in the disaster, had been asked to manage the event next year.

It will be held at the new earthquake memorial which is currently under construction.

Today's ceremony ended with the reading of the names of the 185 people who died, a minute's silence and the laying of wreaths.

Other events to commemorate the earthquake are being held across the day.

Christchurch resident Terri Green said she attended the memorial service as a commitment to those who had lost so much that they were not forgotten.

She said she was deeply touched by the reading of the list of the 185 people who died in the quake.

"As I stand here listening to the names being read out I think how dreadful, what if my son's name was read out, you know and the only thing that can support you is the fact that everyone still cares - and we do - we still care for those people who lost other people and all those people who are still struggling. And we have to remember that because Christchurch isn't over yet."

Mrs Green said many in Christchurch were also still dealing with broken homes, and they too should not be forgotten.

Japanese nationals remembered

Dignitaries and families of Japanese nationals who lost their lives in the earthquake five years ago today are gathering at Christchurch's Transitional Cathedral to pay their respects.

Of the 185 people killed when the earthquake struck shortly; 28 of them were Japanese.

Members of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and the Canterbury Japanese Choir will join forces this evening to put on a concert commemorating the anniversary.

Donations received at the service will go towards the construction of a bell tower at the Transitional Cathedral.

There was a strong Japanese contingent at the Civic Memorial Service in the botanical gardens this afternoon, including the Japanese minister of foreign affairs.

Convention centre decision not far off

On the fifth anniversary of the Christchurch earthquake, the prime minister has revealed a decision on the future of a new convention centre is not far away.

The $280 million project was announced with great fanfare in 2012 as a way to encourage more private sector investment in the devastated centre of the city.

Three-and-a-half-years on there is still no set timeframe for when it will be built.

On a visit to the city today, John Key has said rushing the project could result in the government paying too much for it.

But he said the gap was narrowing between what the government wanted and what was wanted by the consortium chosen to build the centre.

Last year Mr Key hinted the project could be scaled back in size.

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