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As it happened: Christchurch quake anniversary

Published: 5:12AM Wednesday February 22, 2012 Source: ONE News

New Zealand today remembers one of our saddest days, the 6.3 magnitude earthquake which struck Christchurch at 12.51pm on February 22, 2011.

6.41pm: Church services will be held from 7pm tonight at Holy Trinity in Avonside and at the Oxford Terrace Baptist Church for those who could not make it to today's service at Hagley Park.

5.33pm: Wallabies player James O'Connor tweets: "To remembering and keeping in mind all those affected by the Christchurch earthquake that hit a year ago today! Lives changed forever."

5.02pm: Singer Boh Runga has tweeted: "Thinking of you, Christchurch xxx"

4.53pm: Reporter James Ransley told ONE News at 4:30 it was an emotional day for everyone in the city. "I spoke with a number of people here. They said this was a chance to reflect, but many admit that the emotional scars inflicted upon them during February's quake are still a long way off from healing."

4.47pm: Fire rescue crews from New South Wales were among those who marked the first anniversary of the Christchurch earthquakes today. New South Wales station commander, Chris Andrews, led the first international response team to arrive in Christchurch. He says he wanted to be in Christchurch today with his crew to show his ongoing support for the people of Christchurch.

4.32pm: The heroes of the Christchurch earthquake have been recognised at a special ceremony this afternoon. One hundred and forty people were given a Christchurch Earthquake Award for their actions in the aftermath of the devastating quake. Read the full list here.

4.24pm: Joy Zillah Clark from Wanganui has posted a picture on the ONE News Facebook page showing a "flower cone" arrangement for Christchurch.

3.42pm: BBC's website has an interactive map showing how the central city looks one year on.

3.14pm: Business news website Bloomberg has a story on New Zealand's economic outlook, one year on from the quake. It predicts the rebuild will spur inflation and push up interest rates.

2.56pm: Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has told reporters her thoughts are with Christchurch today.  "I think today Australians will want to mark this one year by thinking about our New Zealand family and how far they have come during this 12 months and how much more needs to happen," she said.

2.35pm: A group of 50 friends and family of the Japanese language students killed in the CTV building were among those at the service today. Naohiro Kanamaru, 53, who lost his 19-year-old daughter Kayo, told Daily Yomiuri Online they will also meet with government officials and members of the Royal Commission to seek answers on the building's collapse.

2.15pm: Electricity network company Orion has released a 20 minute video clip documenting the work that was needed to restore power supply across the city. It was filmed around Christchurch in the days and weeks after the quake.

Suzette Meroiti writes on the ONE News Facebook page: "All around Christchurch people have put flowers on marker cones as a reminder of this day, a lovely gesture."

1.59pm: Kiwi film director Taika Waititi tweets: "Although I was on a plane, I managed to find some quiet time to spare a thought for Christchurch and the Neale sisters."

1.45pm: ONE News reporter Joy Reid tweets an image from St Michaels school in Christchurch of students letting off balloons with messages of hope:

1.30pm: The Right Reverend Victoria Matthews, Anglican Bishop of Christchurch, closes off the service with a prayer. "Hearts are so full. For those who have lost loved ones, who have been injured mentally, physically and spiritually, we wish you God's peace."

1.26pm: Children are releasing 185 monarch butterflies in memory of the dead as the Christchurch Pops Choir sings You Raise Me Up.

1.22pm: Lucy Lawless tweets "Kia Kaha to the people of Christchurch, on this tragic anniversary of the Earthquake. Two mins silence at 12.51 to pay our respect #chch"

1.14pm: All Black Piri Weepu tweets: "My thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Christchurch who have lost loved ones!! Still thinking of you all doing it tough!"

1.07pm: A video message from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is shown to the crowd.

"I had just visited Christchurch a few months earlier and was shocked to learn and see the scope of the damage.

"Even those of us that were far away on that terrible day share in your grief and we know it's been a struggle."

1.03pm: Governor General Jerry Mateparae says 185 monarch butterflies will be released later today in memory of those that died.

12.51pm: The nation has stopped to observe two minutes of silence.

12.47pm: The names of all who died in the earthquake have now been read out. As the band plays, the crowd reflects. Two minutes of silence will follow at 12.51pm.

Emily Mcgrath comments on Facebook that it is "great to see that they are using sign language" throughout the service.

12.40pm: "Some of these names are now familiar," tweets Andrew Drake.

12.34pm: The crowd stands, many people with heads bowed, as the names of the 185 deceased are read out.

12.31pm: The Linwood College Orchestra performs Fanfare for the Common Man.

Set in a block among the crowd are 185 empty chairs, in memory of those that perished in the February 22 earthquake. 

12.26pm: Prayers are being said by people of various faiths. Both adults and children are on the stage to speak these prayers.

12.24pm: Prime Minister John Key reads from the Book of Romans.

12.21pm: The stirring hymn Whakaaria mai (How Great thou Art) is sung.

Young New Zealander of the Year and Student Volunteer Army founder Sam Johnson reads from the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible.

12.16pm: "No city has ever been more strongly united in wanting to recover, rebuild and once more be a great place to live and work," Parker says.

12.10pm: Mayor of Christchurch Bob Parker issues a warm welcome to all who have travelled from near and far to attend the service. 

Parker says Hagley Park has become "a sanctuary" in the past year and he thanks the people of Canterbury for their courage and service.

"This is a year like no other we have ever experienced."

12.09pm: Henare Rakiihia Tau, of Ngai Tuahuriri, has delivered the Mihi and a massive crowd is now singing the national anthem. The New Zealand flag is lowered to half-mast.

12.04pm: "Thousands and thousands of people at Hagley Park for the civic memorial service," tweets Laura McQuillan.

11.59am: Benjamin Brennan sounds the conch shell to begin the Civic Memorial Service at North Hagley Park. The park is silent otherwise.

11.45am: Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker has finished a press conference in North Hagley Park.

He said the Canterbury Earthquake Royal Commission was established to ensure lessons are learned from the tragedy.

Parker assured Japanese journalists the commission will establish why so many lives were lost in building collapses around the city; particularly CTV.

CERA Chief Executive Roger Sutton told the press conference the local economy is still "going gangbusters" despite the trauma of repeated aftershocks.

11.43am: Stephen Foote posts on Facebook: "Thinking of all my ChCh whanau today. Much respect, never forget."

11.31am: A reminder, at 12.51 today there will be two minutes of silence for Christchurch.

Live photo from Hagley Park...


11.26am: The Civic Memorial Service at North Hagley Park starts in 30 mins, running from 12 noon to 1.30pm.

Organisers expect around 40,000 people will gather in the park and people have been asked to use public transport.

Following the service, Christchurch Earthquake Awards will be presented from 2pm to 4pm.

11.20am: Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague has written offering his condolences to the people of New Zealand on the anniversary of the Christchurch earthquake.

"I am writing to express once more my condolences and assure you that my thoughts remain with all those affected by the tragedy, especially the residents of Christchurch," Hague writes. 

"It is a testament to the Kiwi spirit that we witness the  citizens of Christchurch determined to see their city rebuilt. Britain stands ready to help you in the journey ahead."

1 1.11am: Hundreds of people are using Twitter to express their support, grief and reflections today. A hash tag #WhereWereYou is trending.

"I was on the mezzanine floor of the Millenium Hotel, signing up to give blood. #WhereWereYou," says Em - FreedomCreative.
"I was at my awesome job that was my path to a career, house and children. Now I'm stuck in Australia, wishing to be home. #WhereWereYou," tweeted Aean Campbell.

"#Wherewereyou on Feb22? I was in a lecture, at UC. Evacuated with thousands of other students, no one could contact their loved ones," says Thomas Mead.

11.09am: A photographic essay of the impact and restoration of Christchurch and Canterbury after the earthquakes.

11.07am: "Anyone else see the gorgeous sunrise in Christchurch this morning?" asks Kalena on Twitter. "Seems appropriate for today's #eqnz anniversary."

10.39am: Green Party Christchurch earthquake spokesperson Eugenie Sage says in a press release that today "is a day to support family and friends who have lost loved ones, those injured, and those whose homes have been broken or destroyed by the earthquake and its aftermath."
He calls for the establishment of an Avon River/Otakaro River Park, as a memorial to the tragic events, connecting Hagley Park to the sea along the Avon River.

10.16am: On the ONE News Facebook page Simona Bradelj posts: "Me and my parents were in World Senior Tennis Champion in Wilding Park, Christchurch. We are from Slovenia, Europe. I will never forget how friendly, and helpful were the local people. They didn't know if their loved once were alive, but still they stayed with us and help the best they could (sic)."

9.55am: From the US, Hannah Bartlett tweets her support: "I may be in San Diego right now, but my heart is in New Zealand. Thoughts and prayers with Christchurch.. One year on."

9.32am: About the time the service was starting in Latimer Square, Christchurch this morning, another service was wrapping in London, reports ONE News Europe Correspondent Garth Bray.

People came to London's beautiful Westminster Abbey to remember all those affected by the tragedy.

9.30am: Aucklanders wanting to commemorate the one year anniversary of the Christchurch earthquake can attend a service at the Museum from 12pm-2pm.

9.27am: "A year ago i was in holiday in nz," says Richard Irvine on the ONE News Facebook page.

"Me and my mum flew into christchurch just as it hit. I am from the uk. Let us not forget the people who lost there lives. The old city sleeps but a new one rises."

9.22am: ONE News reporter Ruth Wynn-Williams tweets: "1 Year. Remembering those we miss. Proud to spend today alongside the boss who saved my life & those who were right there through the worst."

9.10am: The service has concluded with singing of the national anthem.

9.03am: Richard Hills says on Twitter: "I'm not religious! But I really like how all the different religious leaders from different faiths are on stage together!"

8.55am: At the memorial service, prayers are said by leaders of the Islamic and Jewish faiths.

8.50am: Today we can "dare to dream" about what a new Christchurch will be like, says Key. 

But today is also a day to pause and reflect - to remember those who died, those who helped on that day and those who continue to work for the city, says Key.

The Sky Tower goes red for Christchurch

8.42am: Prime Minister John Key has taken to the podium and describes February 22, 2011 as "a date that will go down in the history of New Zealand as one of our darkest days".

"We all remember where we were when we heard the news."

Key says when he arrived in Christchurch immediately after the quake, he saw fires, dust, helicopters with monsoon buckets, all while aftershocks continued to shake.

"It was a New Zealand I had never seen before."

He tells those at the service that the thoughts of the nation are with them.

8.44am: Anglican Bishop of Christchurch Victoria Matthews reads a Psalm from the Bible

8:35am: Mayor Bob Parker is speaking to family and friends of those lost in the earthquake.

"On this day one year ago everything changed. It will never be the same again.

"None of us can know what it is like for you.

"I hope that the pain can be put into context. I hope that you can move forward."

8.30am: The service begins with a Maori greeting and song.

8.26am: The memorial service has now started.

Prime Minister John Key and his wife Bronagh, along with Governor-General Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Mateparae and Lady Janine Mateparae are in attendance.

8.22am: The memorial service at Latimer Square is about to start with most seats now full.

The square sits next to the CTV building where 115 people lost there lives.

8.13am: Business reporter Nadine Chalmers-Ross says business owners in Christchurch are hopeful but many are still struggling with their lives.

Some see the empty spaces in town as opportunities to start a business, some see them as reminders of their destroyed businesses.

Chalmers-Ross reminds viewers that many parts of Christchurch are up and running.

8.07am: The "mood is quiet and somber" at Latimer Square, tweets Green Party MP Mojo Mathers.

8.03am: Ian Randall tweets that the flags on the Auckland Harbour Bridge are at half-mast this morning.

8.02am: A memorial service has begun in Latimer Square, Christchurch

The square sits next to the CTV building where 115 people lost there lives.

7.49am: Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker says he knows many people are frustrated about how the rebuild is going. But he says it is important to stop and remember.

"We should take a moment to reflect on how far we have come."

"There''s a lot ahead of us," he says, but there is now the opportunity to build a beautiful city.
7.46am: Christchurch Council is urging people wanting to attend the Hagley Park Memorial Service to use public transport.

Organisers expect around 40,000 people will gather in the park.

7.41am: Corin Dann says there is an "apprehensive feeling" with 20 minutes until the memorial service starts at 8am. People are taking their seats and the orchestra is playing.

7.32am: Surf Life Saving NZ tweets: "An emotional day for everyone in New Zealand. Our thoughts are with everyone in Christchurch on this."

7.20am: The orchestra is tuning up for the 8am memorial service.

7.16am: CERA boss Roger Sutton tells Corin Dann he has a "big mixture of emotions" today but is feel "really positive" overall.

He says the rebuild is starting to happen but knows people are frustrated at the time it is taking.

The next year is about the "guys in the suits" who will start investing in our city and getting the insurance payments out.

7.09am: The weather should mostly be fine in Christchurch this morning but rain is expected this afternoon. Light winds.

7.00am: Corin Dann says he will be talking soon to Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker and Cera chief executive Roger Sutton.

6.59am: "A year ago our lives changed forever! It's something I will never forget, and at time it still haunts me." - Michelle Campbell on Twitter

6.39am: Corin Dann, co-host of TVNZ's Breakfast, speaks with Anglican Bishop of Christchurch Victoria Matthews.

Bishop Matthews says the memorial service today is particularly for the families of those who lost loved ones. But because New Zealand is so small, that will affect many of us, she says.

The service was originally just for family members but it has been made public now. A large delegation is arriving from Japan.

She also said that today is about "appropriate grief but also hope".

"In many senses we've had a community funeral."

6.38am: Sharon Mcleod tweets: "Rise up christchurch. I hope the whole world stands by u @ 12:51pm 2day, cause i will be standing with ya (sic)."

6.13am: Nadine Chalmers-Ross is speaking to Alex Bouma from Canterbury Employment and Skills Board.

Bouma says delays in getting the rebuild going have certainly crept in and "things have gone slower than some of us would have liked".

But he said the workforce is "ramping up" and there are now 1300 vacancies for trades training available.

The job ahead is massive though and the rebuild may require people with skills from abroad.

6.04am: Vee Henare says on the ONE News Facebook: "Today a year ago my son and i survived a massive earthquake but many otherz didnt.. Im sorry to the two ladiez i could not save.."

6.00am: TV ONE will be streaming live on from now.

5.58am: "It's been a tough year #chch, but since #1251 it's your strength of character that's inspired me most, kia kaha with the rebuild" - Andy Fenton tweets

5.32am: Eleisha McNeill says on Twitter she "is remembering those who lost their lives, those whose lives changed forever, and mourning a beautiful city"

Dave Boon tweets from the UK: "a long way from home, but I will always remember the day that changed NZ forever... stay strong chch"

Allie tweets: "3am - can't sleep & already in tears for the day. Can't believe it's been a year"

5.29am: A Twitter message is being shared, calling for a moment of Twitter silence at 12.51 today.

"Would be nice to see a twitter whiteout tomorrow at 12:51. Post a single full stop in memory of #eqnz" - nzben  

5.04am: Anniversary commemorations begin 8am with a public service in Latimer Square in central Christchurch. TV ONE's Breakfast will be live.

Prime Minister John Key and his wife Bronagh, along with Governor-General Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Mateparae and Lady Janine Mateparae will attend the service, where Key will give an address.