It has been a difficult day, filled with emotion, as Christchurch marks the first anniversary since the devastating earthquake last February.
Ceremonies, memorials and community events have been taking place throughout the country, with thousands gathering at the largest service in Hagley Park at lunchtime.
"We know that this day, above all days, must be a heavy, hard day for you," Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker told the crowd, many of whom had lost loved ones in the quake.
The magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck at 12.51pm on Tuesday February 22, 2011.
It was the second-deadliest natural disaster recorded in New Zealand after the 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake.
Over half of 185 the deaths occurred in the six-storey Canterbury Television (CTV) Building, which collapsed and caught fire in the quake.
The names of all the victims were read out during the service by the rescuers who were first at the scene to pull people from the rubble.
"The moment when they started to read the names, her name was the first name to be read, it was really difficult," Maan Alkasi, husband of Dr Maysoon Abbas, told ONE News.
Joseph Pohio's parents were also there in honour of the emergency services, and the son they lost as he tried to help others caught in the rubble.
"He was a good son, a very good boy...very proud of him and being here today I can't describe it," his father Arnold said.
"(This is) something we have to do but there'll never be closure...it's just one more thing we've got over today," said Joy Pohio.
The heroes of the quake were honoured in a special ceremony this afternoon, where 136 people were given awards for service and bravery.
The people of Christchurch were also awarded the Royal Humane Society of New Zealand's Gold Medal, an honour not seen since the Wahine disaster.
Earlier in the day a service was held at Latimer Square, next to the CTV building, and the site of an emergency medical centre after the quake.
Families of the 28 Japanese students who died in the quake attended, and were offered words of support from Parker.
"None of us can know what it is like for you, the scale of the losses you have endured," he said.
"I know it's painful. I hope that the pain can be put into context and I hope that you can all move forward."
Prime Minister John Key and his wife Bronagh, along with Governor-General Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Mateparae and Lady Janine Mateparae also attended the service.
Key said the day would be remembered as one of New Zealand's darkest.
"People were huddled under blankets, sirens were blaring. There were fires, helicopters with monsoon buckets hovering overhead and among all of this, aftershocks continued to shake the very ground we stand on today.
"It was New Zealand, but it was a New Zealand I had never seen before," he said.
On an optimistic note Key added "we can dare to dream" and the Government is committed to rebuilding this "great city".
Community comes together
A separate service was also held this afternoon for Japanese families at the Christ's College chapel, while one of the survivors of the CTV collapse rang the peace bell to remember her lost friends.
Elsewhere, flowers were floated in the waterways at 15 sites around the city and a small ceremony was also held at the botanic gardens.
Schools paid their respects with students at St Paul's, who are still unable to return to their red-zoned school site, placing flowers in traffic cones.
At St Michael's School, the bell rang 185 times before balloons bearing a message to the heavens were released.
And where Oxford Terrace Baptist Church once stood, 185 empty
white chairs were placed on the vacant site.