CHRISTCHURCH: New Zealand paused for two minutes’ silence on Wednesday to mark the first anniversary of the devastating Christchurch earthquake which left 185 people dead.
At 12.51 pm , the moment the 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit New Zealand’s second largest city and sent buildings crashing down onto lunchtime crowds, the nation fell quiet to honour the dead.
About 60,000 people gathered fat Christchurch’s Hagley Park, where families of the victims locked arms and bowed their heads. Some wept while others closed their eyes in prayer. At the service, Governor-General Jerry Mateparae read a message of condolence from Prince Charles and a video address from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who visited the city just before the disaster, was played.
“Even those if us who were far away on that terrible day share your grief and we know it’s been a struggle,” she said.
“But through that struggle we’ve seen the strength and perseverance of the people of Christchurch.” Earlier, Prime Minister John Key told a memorial service for victims’ families that the earthquake was “one of our darkest days”. Key said the earthquake “wreaked havoc on an unimaginable scale”, changing Christchurch forever.