A Civic Memorial Service was held on the Archery Lawn of Christchurch's Botanic Gardens at midday on February 22, to mark the fifth anniversary of the 2011 earthquake of 6.3 magnitude, which claimed 185 lives and was considered to be the country's worst natural disaster in more than 80 years.
Almost two-thirds of victims of various nationalities were inside the Canterbury Television building, which also housed a language school. Some bereaved families flew in from Japan to participate in the commemorations.
City's Mayor Lianne Dalziel and Governor General Jerry Mateparae spoke at the public ceremony and a minute's silence was observed at 12.51pm. Prime Minister John Key, Labour leader Andrew Little, and Earthquake Recoevry Minister Gerry Brownlee were among the dignitaries who took part in the commemorations.
A River of Flowers event was also organised by the Avon-Otakaro Network and Flourish Inc., in which 20 sites along the waterways were identified and members of the public were invited to release a flower into the Avon River as an act of remembrance.