A tear-stained Christchurch is nearly through the ''worst of it'', Prime Minister John Key has told residents while marking the second anniversary of the February 22 quake.
A series of events are being held around Christchurch today to mark the terrible destruction brought by the quake and to remember the 185 people killed.
More than 500 people gathered at Latimer Square for the main memorial service at midday, where Key and mayor Bob Parker gave speeches.
Key urged Cantabrians to ''persevere'' and ''stay strong''.
"In the past two years, I would bet more tears have been shed in this city than in the rest of the country put together," said Key.
"We're just about through the worst of it. Better times are ahead as we rebuild a city that we can all be proud of."
Key said the Government was "absolutely committed" to the rebuild and hoped people could remain patient.
"I know it's hard, I know there's still suffering, and everyone is anxious for things to go faster, but this job is unprecedented in the world, and we should judge ourselves by how we have come so far."
He paid tribute to those who lost loved ones in the quake.
"Your grief is still raw, and only time can help numb the pain of your loss."
Parker said the rebuild needed to produce a city that honoured the losses of the past two years. "As much as we say we will look forward ... we have to acknowledge that the terrible events that took place here have caused a deep pain, a deep sense of loss that will be with us forever."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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