A place to reflect, remember and give hope
Feb 23, 2017
On the sixth anniversary of the Canterbury earthquakes, the memorial recognising the victims and first responders of the magnitude was unveiled on the banks of the Avon River. Brian Perry Civil had the privilege of building the memorial.
The Canterbury Earthquake Memorial is significant for all New Zealanders. A place to reflect and remember, it holds special meaning for Cantabrians who experienced these events, but is equally important for the families and friends (both here and overseas) of those who lost their lives or were injured in the earthquakes.
The memorial was officially unveiled on Wednesday on the sixth anniversary of the February 2011 earthquakes. Prime Minster Bill English called the memorial "a place to grieve, but also a place to hope", at the official opening, which was attended by thousands of people. Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy, who officially opened the memorial, read a message from Queen Elizabeth II in which she said she hoped the wall was "a place of solace and reflection".
Named Oi Manawa (meaning "tremor of the heart",) the 112.5m memorial wall is inscribed with the names of the 185 people killed in the 6.3 magnitude earthquake, which struck at 12.51pm on 22 February 2011.
The memorial's design, by Slovenian architect Grega Vezjak, was selected from more than 300 submitted. It features a curved marble wall and a riverside walkway on the south bank with a smaller memorial garden on the north bank of the Ōtākaro, Avon River.
When his winning design was announced in 2015, Mr Vezjak said he felt the pressure of designing something so important for a city and its people.
"I really hope it could be helpful for the families... and for the seriously injured people. But also for Christchurch and Canterbury. I hope it will be a special experience or place," he said.
The memorial will form part of the Avon River Precinct between Montreal St and Durham St South on Oxford Tce.
It also acknowledges the emergency services and other first responders, and those who were seriously injured.
Brian Perry Civil had the privilege of building the Memorial Wall on the south bank of the river.