Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial

Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial

Officially opened to the public on 22 February 2017, the sixth anniversary of the devastating earthquake, Oi Manawa Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial is located on the banks of the Ōtākaro/Avon River in central Christchurch.

Designed by Slovenian architect Grega Vezjak as ‘a place to remember and to find peace’, the memorial was chosen from more than 330 submissions for its ‘evocative and powerful expression of loss and remembrance’.

The memorial comprises two integrated spaces on either side of the river – a memorial wall area on the south bank and a reflective space on the north bank – linked by the Montreal Street bridge. On the south bank, a 111-metre-long curved wall bears the names of all 185 victims of the 22 February 2011 earthquake. The inscriptions, written and arranged in consultation with the bereaved families, are in both English and the deceased’s first language, including Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Serbian and Thai. A landscaped area on the north side allows visitors to sit and view the memorial wall on the opposite bank.

At the entrance to the memorial sits a pounamu (greenstone) gifted by Te Rūnanga o Makaawhio, a hapū of Ngāi Tahu and Ngāti Māmoe iwi. The placing of pounamu at the entrance to significant sites is an aspect of Māori tradition that helps connect visitors to the land and to those who have come before them.

The Canterbury earthquake memorial is one of only two national memorials built in New Zealand to commemorate a disaster. The other one is the Tangiwai National Memorial at Karori Cemetery in Wellington.

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