Hundreds of Cantabrians have protested against Government plans to shut 13 schools in the region.
Nearly 1000 people turned out to the rally at the Bridge of Remembrance to show their opposition to the Education Review Plan announced by the Government last week.
The plan proposes grouping all 214 schools in the Canterbury region into 41 learning community "clusters", with 13 schools marked for closure, 18 likely to merge, and seven to relocate.
Teachers, parents and students at Ouruhia Primary School were among those rallying to protest against plans to shut their school.
"It's almost like pulling the mat totally away from under their lives...the parents and the children," said deputy principal Jocelyn Murray.
Organiser Bronwyn Hayward said the protest marked the start of 100 days "to reclaim the vote for Canterbury".
"Christchurch has been very tired but I think suddenly there is a new energy and feel throughout the community," said Hayward.
A massive fabric petition was signed by hundreds and the crowd also heard from 11 students.
"We just did this so we can stop worrying about the Prime Minister trying to close our school," said student Carter Griggs.
The Ministry of Education has scheduled 24 consultation meetings with all affected schools.
Murray said she would like to think of the meeting as the beginning of a backdown but the Government has given no indication it is backing down despite the fierce protest.
"I expected people would get upset but we had to give certainty and that's what we've done," said Education Mininster Hekia Parata.
Another protest rally has been planned for midday on Saturday at Hagley Park.