Quake anniversary shifts to Botanic Gardens
Christchurch's main service to mark the third anniversary of the February 2011 earthquake will be held in the city's Botanic Gardens.
Mayor Lianne Dalziel said the location was picked so "everyone is surrounded by beauty rather than devastation" on the day.
Dalziel said it was important to create "a sense of distance" while still holding the gathering close to where many lives were lost.
Several relatives of many of the Japanese victims would be attending the service. In some cultures, the third anniversary of a tragedy was "particularly special" so organisers were trying to be mindful and respectful of that, Dalziel said.
The February 22 date still created "a lot of emotion" for people.
"We also know some people aren't necessarily only grieving for the loss of life but some sustained serious injuries, life-changing injuries for many."
There were many people still facing other battles involving their homes and disputes with insurers, Dalziel said.
The service starts at noon. During the event, the names of the 185 victims will be read out, a minute's silence will be observed at 12.51pm - the time the disaster struck - and the Peace Bell will sound.