While plans are being made for the future of Christchurch's red zone, one researcher is keen to ensure the area's past is not forgotten.
For those who haven't seen the red zone, devastated by the quakes, picture your own neighbourhood, then remove all the homes, driveways and fences - everything apart from the trees and the streets that connect it.
Canterbury University researcher Donald Matheson has developed an app that enables people to upload videos of themselves talking about parts of the red zone that are special to them.
In Christchurch, vacant lots have been planted out in grass and are a pleasant place to take a stroll, but every now and then there's a glimpse of a tree house or a wooden cross marking the spot where someone's pet was buried, haunting reminders that this was once somebody's home.
The app developed by Dr Matheson, which goes live early next year, is aimed at ensuring personal histories attached to every one of the 7000 properties are not forgotten.
"Anywhere I want to stop and take a photo I stop and click a button and I can stand here and click video and describe what I'm seeing in front of me. It might be the road I used to live on which no longer looks the way it did."
Dr Matheson said now was the time to collect these stories before they were lost forever.
"The empty spaces now are not just empty green spaces, they're full of peoples' memories and there's so much of that that is lost but to gather some material that reminds us of peoples' lives allows us as we look to the future to take some of our past with us."
Looking back in time
Watch: Tom McBrearty visits the site of his former home and recalls the first anniversary of the quakes:
Tom McBrearty and his wife spent 38 years raising a family on River Road in Dallington.
Their home was written off by the September 2010 quake.
He found it emotionally very hard coming back, and his wife has only visited the site of their former home three times.
Mr McBrearty said the app was a great idea but worried residents would not be given enough time to tell the full story behind the area. He wants residents to be able to leave their contact details so people could get in touch and and be given a fuller description.
He would move back to the area in a flash if he had the chance, although he knew that wasn't likely to happen.
"You sit here and you think, wow, what a life we had here. And now, we're rebuilding a life and we're having a great time where we are, but we're not beside a river, and that's a massive difference."
Di Madgin lived on River Road for 34 years, just a few doors down from Mr McBrearty.
She said once people moved to the area, they often didn't leave.
"Two families had been here three generations and the others had been here since the late '50s, early '60s, and so there was a great feeling of community."
While her house went, along with all of others in the area, she continues to visit the spot where it used to sit and had worked hard to maintain the garden she poured so much into over the years.
"I couldn't bear to leave it, I simply was heart broken. I was heartbroken to lose the people, that was big stuff, and to lose all of the houses, that was really big because that meant you couldn't pretend about people, they went with the houses."
Ms Madgin hopes Dr Matheson's app would foster an interest in local history among younger people, so the stories were never forgotten.