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New Zealand poised to mark quake anniversary

Published: 5:36PM Tuesday February 21, 2012 Source: ONE News

New Zealanders are poised to mark the first anniversary of the deadly Christchurch earthquake.

The 6.3 magnitude quake which struck at 12.51pm on February 22, 2011, left 185 people dead and caused widespread damage to buildings and infrastructure across the city.

The first of the official anniversary ceremonies took place this evening with the opening of an interment site at Avonhead Park Cemetery for people who died in the earthquake.

About 200 people gathered to witness the official opening and dedication of the site. Earlier in the day, the unidentified remains of quake victims were interred at the site, alongside momentos from four of the unfound victims of the quake.

Tomorrow, while around 40,000 people are expected to attend a Civic Memorial Service at North Hagley Park from 12 noon, cities across the rest of the country will also be marking the anniversary.

The Auckland War Memorial Museum will be running commemorative activities, collecting donations for Christchurch and screening the documentary When A City Falls.

A two-minute silence at Aotea Square will be marked by the Town Hall bell, starting at 12.51pm, while Auckland's Holy Trinity Cathedral will host a Service of Remembrance for the people of Christchurch and Canterbury at 12:30pm.

Wanganui is holding a Christchurch Memorial Service at Majestic Square at 5.00pm while Rise Up Tauranga has a service at Welcome Bay at 11.30am.

Wellington Museum commemorated the earthquake last Sunday with a choir performance.

The earthquake was the second-deadliest natural disaster recorded in New Zealand after the 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake.

The February 22 tremor came almost six months after the magnitude 7.1 quake caused damage in Christchurch and the central Canterbury region, but no fatalities.

The quake caused soil liquefaction in the eastern suburbs which produced around 400,000 tonnes of silt.

Thousands of lives were changed as homes were declared uninhabitable and many people in New Zealand and overseas were left grieving for lost loved ones.

The Christchurch Civic Memorial Service will be live on TV ONE and from noon Wednesday.

You can find all the coverage of the anniversary here .