Blooms sent around Christchurch for River of Flowers

Michelle Whitaker and Evan Smith prepare flowers for Monday's River of Flowers.
GEORGINA CAMPBELL/FAIRFAX NZ

Michelle Whitaker and Evan Smith prepare flowers for Monday's River of Flowers.

Thousands of flowers are being sent out to sites around the city for Monday's River of Flowers commemoration. 

On Monday people will be able to place flowers in waterways at 20 sites around greater Christchurch – the most sites since the first such event four years ago.

Between 12.30pm and 1.30pm, the sites will be hosted by community groups and several will have lone pipers playing Amazing Grace following two minutes silence from 12.51pm.

Thousands of flowers are being sent out to sites around the city for Monday's River of Flowers commemoration.
GEORGINA CAMPBELL/FAIRFAX NZ

Thousands of flowers are being sent out to sites around the city for Monday's River of Flowers commemoration.

River of Flowers manager Michelle Whitaker said the commemoration brought together pre-earthquake communities.

"There is a connection between communities that the river gives," she said.

More than 250 local school children were expected to sing waiata and perform a haka at the Medbury St site.

A few kilometres upstream, 800 Avonside Girls' High School students would line both sides of the riverbank outside their school for the commemoration.

Evan Smith, from the Avon-Ōtākaro Network, said the February earthquake destroyed many Christchurch communities but it took the amalgamation of them to start the rebuild.

"Communities that were red zoned dissolved. Those that live adjacent to the red zone lost half of their community.

"It's only really this year we have seen huge vacant land spaces emerge in the red zone . . . so people are reflecting on what was but also what could be," Smith said. 

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People who had moved on from the city since the earthquakes to Nelson, Blenheim ,Timaru or the West Coast were expected to return for The River of Flowers.

"It's still a part of the healing process, but some people won't come back . . . because it's still too raw, even after five years," Smith said. 

CIVIC MEMORIAL EVENT

A Civic Memorial Service will be held at midday on Monday, February 22, on the Archery Lawn in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. All members of the public are welcome.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel will give an address at the service at 12pm and a minute's silence will be observed at 12.51pm. The service is expected to end at 1pm. 

RIVER OF FLOWERS SITES

Akaroa - Main beach.

Avonside - Corner of Avonside Drive and Retreat Rd, near the Gayhurst Rd bridge.

Beckenham Park - Beckenham Park riverbank, starting at the Cricket Pavilion and then on to the riverbank (wheelchair accessible).

Botanic Gardens - Footbridge between the Hospital and the Peace Bell (wheelchair accessible, toilet facilities available). 

Burwood/Avondale - Southwest riverbank, next to Avondale Bridge. 

Dallington - Riverbank opposite the Kerr's Reach boatsheds (limited wheelchair access on riverbank, toilet facilities at boatsheds). 

Estuary - Yacht Club Car Park, Moncks Bay, followed by afternoon tea (wheelchair accessible). 

Heathcote River - Riverbank opposite Princess Margaret Hospital (limited wheelchair access on riverbank). 

Lincoln- Banks of the River Liffey near the footbridge.

Medway St Foot Bridge - Southwest bank on River Rd (not suitable for wheelchairs or those with impaired mobility). 

New Brighton - Owles Tce Reserve, meet on opposite side of the river (limited wheelchair access). 

O-Tautahi - The Bricks - Barbadoes St bridge and diagonal adjoining riverbanks, followed by afternoon tea at Avon Loop Community Cottage, 28 Hurley St, after 1.30pm (limited wheelchair access at the cottage). 

Place of Tranquillity - Corner of Manchester St and Cambridge Tce (wheelchair access on the bridge). 

Riccarton Bush - River bank between Kahu Rd and Riccarton House (wheelchair accessible). 

St Albans - St Albans Creek in ASB Park. Community soccer game from 1.30pm. 

Wainoni - New Brighton side of riverbank near the Wainoni Rd Bridge (limited wheelchair access).

Wainoni Methodist Church - 878 Avonside Drive (wheelchair access, toilets). 

Woolston Radley Park - Radley Park near the south end of the Catherine St footbridge (wheelchair accessible). 

Richmond - Corner of Medway St and River Rd.

 - Stuff

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