Thousands have gathered in Christchurch’s Latimer Square for a memorial service to mark the second anniversary of the February 2011 earthquake.
The inter-faith service is being lead by Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker, Prime Minister John Key and representatives from Ngai Tahu, ChristChurch Cathedral and the emergency services.
Speaking a short time ago, Mr Parker thanked those gathered for helping “share the weight of this time”.
“There is so much to look forward to, but we must remember those who are lost,” he said.
Mr Key spoke afterward, saying Christchurch “did not deserve these earthquakes”.
“Christchurch did not ask for them. But, having endured them, Cantabrians have seized the chance to create the best city they can.
“As I look around today, I’m staggered at the change around me.”
Art installations remembering the day have sprung up across the city. The 185 empty white chairs erected at Oxford Terrace Baptist Church commemorating those who died are still in place this year, with the addition of flowers under each one.
Artist Jason Ware has suspended a dining table using hundreds of Bands for Christchurch.
A tree on the corner of Manchester Street and Cambridge Terrace has been decked out in high-visibility material.