Christchurch pauses to remember

Public Memorial Service held in the Botanic Gardens on the third anniversary of the Christchurch Earthquake. Families place flowers on the memorial after the service.
Public Memorial Service held in the Botanic Gardens on the third anniversary of the Christchurch Earthquake. Families place flowers on the memorial after the service.
MEMORIAL: Public Memorial Service held in the Botanic Gardens on the third anniversary of the Christchurch Earthquake. Acknowledging those who had passed away in the earthquake.
MEMORIAL: Public Memorial Service held in the Botanic Gardens on the third anniversary of the Christchurch Earthquake. Acknowledging those who had passed away in the earthquake.
A MOMENT: Anniversary of February 22nd 2011 earthquake.
Laying flowers at the CTV site.
A MOMENT: Anniversary of February 22nd 2011 earthquake. Laying flowers at the CTV site.
SERVICE: Public Memorial Service held in the Botanic Gardens on the third anniversary of the February 22nd 2011 Christchurch Earthquake. Families place flowers on the memorial after the service.
SERVICE: Public Memorial Service held in the Botanic Gardens on the third anniversary of the February 22nd 2011 Christchurch Earthquake. Families place flowers on the memorial after the service.
FLOWERS: Public Memorial Service at the Botanic Gardens on the third anniversary of the Christchurch 22nd February 2011 Earthquake. Those attending threw flowers into the river afterwards.
FLOWERS: Public Memorial Service at the Botanic Gardens on the third anniversary of the Christchurch 22nd February 2011 Earthquake. Those attending threw flowers into the river afterwards.
PUNTING: Public Memorial Service on the third anniversary of the Christchurch 22nd February 2011 Earthquake held in the Botanic Gardens. Those attending threw flowers into the river afterwards.
PUNTING: Public Memorial Service on the third anniversary of the Christchurch 22nd February 2011 Earthquake held in the Botanic Gardens. Those attending threw flowers into the river afterwards.
MINUTE SILENCE: Anniversary of February 22nd 2011 earthquake.
People gather for 12.51pm next to the CTV site.
MINUTE SILENCE: Anniversary of February 22nd 2011 earthquake. People gather for 12.51pm next to the CTV site.
ANTARTIC: Staff of Antarctica NZ gathered around the traffic cone looking towards NZ at 12:51pm today.
ANTARTIC: Staff of Antarctica NZ gathered around the traffic cone looking towards NZ at 12:51pm today.
REFLECTION: Anniversary of February 22nd 2011 earthquake.
Laying flowers at the CTV site.
REFLECTION: Anniversary of February 22nd 2011 earthquake. Laying flowers at the CTV site.
MEMORIAL CHAIRS: Anniversary of February 22nd 2011 earthquake.
A woman at the quake memorial opposite CTV site. The empty chairs represent quake victims.
MEMORIAL CHAIRS: Anniversary of February 22nd 2011 earthquake. A woman at the quake memorial opposite CTV site. The empty chairs represent quake victims.
RUN: A Run to Remember held for the second year in a row. Port Hills course from Harry Ell to Hansen Park, running to reflect and remember the February 22nd 2011 earthquake. Runners warming up and stretching.
RUN: A Run to Remember held for the second year in a row. Port Hills course from Harry Ell to Hansen Park, running to reflect and remember the February 22nd 2011 earthquake. Runners warming up and stretching.
CIVIC SERVICE: A good turn out at the civic memorial service in the Botanic Gardens.
CIVIC SERVICE: A good turn out at the civic memorial service in the Botanic Gardens.
A SINGLE ROSE: Civic memorial service in the Botanic Gardens.
A SINGLE ROSE: Civic memorial service in the Botanic Gardens.
WALK: An enthusiastic crowd of runners and walkers of all ages started from Victoria Park at 9:30am this morning as part of a 12km charity fun run/walk to honour those who lost their lives in the February 2011 earthquake.
WALK: An enthusiastic crowd of runners and walkers of all ages started from Victoria Park at 9:30am this morning as part of a 12km charity fun run/walk to honour those who lost their lives in the February 2011 earthquake.
Runners taking part in the second annual Run to Remember.
Runners taking part in the second annual Run to Remember.
DECORATED: Third anniversary of the Christchurch February 22nd 2011 Earthquake. Road cones were decorated with flowers.
DECORATED: Third anniversary of the Christchurch February 22nd 2011 Earthquake. Road cones were decorated with flowers.
A floral tribute put together by a Year 3 and 4 class at South Hornby School.
A floral tribute put together by a Year 3 and 4 class at South Hornby School.
The Hayes family in Mt Pleasant have used their house as a blackboard to write messages on since the quake.
The Hayes family in Mt Pleasant have used their house as a blackboard to write messages on since the quake.

Thousands of people have turned out for the third anniversary service of Christchurch's February 22, 2011 earthquake.

The ceremony at the city's Botanical Gardens was opened with a welcome from a representative from Ngai Tahu followed by the singing of the national anthem.

Wreaths were laid at the base of a temporary memorial and the names of the 185 people who died as a direct result of the earthquake were read out.

There was a moment of silence at 12.51pm - the time the earthquake struck. A piper played.

Speaking at the service, Mayor Lianne Dalziel asked those who had "moved on" to reach out to people still struggling.

"We have been through a lot as a city and there is still much healing to be done. This is why I wanted this commemoration to be away from the scenes of devastation that haunt our city. I wanted us to be surrounded by beauty," Dalziel said.

Families of the quake's Japanese victims had travelled for the occasion, and yesterday laid stones and flowers at the site of the CTV building collapse in which 115 people died. A total of 185 people died as a direct result of the earthquake.

Dalziel spoke of the connection between Christchurch's Peace Bell, gifted by a Japanese Mayor to the United Nations and then gifted to Christchurch fifty years ago, and Japan's Peace Sculpture in Nagasaki Park. Both monuments contain matching pounamu stones.

"I believe that today the chiming of this Bell will resonate in Japan."

She spoke of the complexities of trauma and healing, and how people had different experiences and responses following the event.

"We must be respectful of the reality that not everyone is able to 'move on', which has become the phrase we use to describe those who have resolved or at least accepted their situation.

"Others cannot move on right now for a variety of reasons - for some it is unanswered questions, or the lack of resolution of their claim, for others it is the ongoing impacts of serious injuries, or the disruption to their lives and the loss of a sense of power or control over what has happened."

Dalziel shared fond memories of the sense of togetherness that pervaded the city immediately after the quakes.

"Ordinary people" became heroes, she said.

"Nothing will ever compare with the sight of hundreds of students pouring down my street in Bexley - it made me feel so proud - and it continues to give me inspiration for the future."

By continuing this can-do attitude and working together, she said: "We will get through."

"Let us claim our future - remembering our past, honouring those whose lives were lost or changed forever, acknowledging the significance of Christchurch being the final resting place of many from overseas and what that means for their families, respecting all who make Christchurch their home and creating for ourselves a sense of place where we all belong."

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee read a letter from the Prince William and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambride.

Also present were the mayors of Hurunui and Waimakariri, Winston Dally and David Ayers, and the previous Christchurch Mayor Sir Bob Parker.

Stuff