Visitors leave flowers ahead of Canterbury earthquake memorial

5:51 pm on 21 February 2021

There has been a steady stream of people visiting the Canterbury National Earthquake Memorial in Christchurch this afternoon, ahead of tomorrow's anniversary.

The Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial has been officially unveiled.

The Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial. Photo: RNZ / Andrew Collins

Monday marks 10 years since the February earthquake, which claimed the lives of 185 people.

A civic memorial service will be held at the memorial at 12:30 tomorrow afternoon and people have been placing flowers and momentoes at the site today.

The service will include a minute of silence. See the order of service here.

For those unable to go, a livestream from the council is also expected. It will be shown on some screens at the central library, Tūranga, as well as a large screen in a grassed area on the other side of Montreal Street.

Read more on the 10th anniversary of the Christchurch quake:

Christchurch City Council (CCC) has worked with the Quake Families Trust on the programme for the service, which is set to acknowledge all those affected by the quakes and those who helped in the aftermath.

"We are mindful that the Covid-19 pandemic means that many people who would normally travel to Christchurch for the 10th anniversary of the earthquake will be unable to do so," said CCC civic and international relations manager Matt Nichols.

In terms of traffic, Montreal Street - from Tuam Street to Cambridge Terrace - will be closed from 9am to 4pm. The Memorial Wall will not be open to the public from noon until the end of the service.

For those planning on travelling to the service by public transport, the Bus Interchange is only a 10-minute walk from the Memorial Wall. A parking area has been set aside for bikes.

Oi Manawa is situated next to the Avon River and displays the names of those who died in the quake.

People can lay tributes at the Memorial Wall or throw their unwrapped floral tributes in the Avon River following the civic service.

The inaugural River of Flowers, created by Michelle Whitaker Evan Smith, will be back again.

There have been up to 20 River of Flower sites along Canterbury waterways, where people write notes of hopes, drop flowers into the river, and hold two minutes of silence at 12.51pm.

More information on the locations and times for River of Flower sites will be available here.

The former Canterbury Television (CTV) building site - where 115 people died - is another open memorial space for people to gather for commemoration and reflection.

The site, on the corner of Madras and Cashel Streets, was opened as a memorial on 22 February 2018.

Locals can also head over to Quake City, the Canterbury Museum's special exhibition about the quakes, where there will be free admission.

Recent additions to the exhibition include a sculptural wall of orange road cones in the entry area and a slideshow of buildings, artworks, and streetscapes, showing how Ōtautahi Christchurch has changed in the decade since the earthquakes.

Several Cantabrians who recount their experiences in the film 12.51, which runs in the exhibition, have been reinterviewed and feature in a new short film, reflecting on how their lives have changed in the past decade.

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