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Speech

Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial

Issue date: 
Wednesday, 22 February 2017
Speaker: 
The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy, GNZM, QSO

Aku mihi nui ki a tatau i tēnei rā.

Kai Tahu, me ngā mana e pae nei,
tena koutou katoa.

Prime Minister, Your Worship, ladies and gentlemen.

It is an honour to join with you today to dedicate this new National Memorial.

On behalf of all New Zealanders, I acknowledge the families who lost loved ones on 22nd of February 2011; the people who suffered serious injuries that day; and the first responders who worked so valiantly to save the lives of others.

I also acknowledge our visitors from overseas, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, other invited guests, all those who worked on this memorial, and members of the Christchurch community.

At this tranquil and beautiful spot, on the banks of the Avon River, we stand united in solemn remembrance.

This memorial is a pledge from us, the living – to those that we have loved and lost – a pledge that they will not be forgotten.

It will be a place to recall the loss and trauma suffered by the people of Canterbury.

It will be a place to reflect on the gaps and absences in our memory of a proud and gracious city.

The earthquakes that rocked this region brought families, friends and the wider community together to help each other through the hardest of times.

There is a whakatauki that evokes that sense of common purpose – “He taura whiri kotahi mai anō i te puau, ki te kopunga tai”.

From the source to the mouth of the sea all things are joined together as one.

As this river flows towards the sea, its life and movement reflect the strength that comes from common effort, and the hope and determination to overcome the trials that beset us.

We have continued to draw on that strength when our local, national or indeed international community has been in need.

And we can draw on that strength, energy and determination to create a new and stronger city.

Events over the last week have tested this city again again.  The threat of the fires and the uncertainty for those who have had to leave their homes has reinforced the continuing need we all have for strong, connected communities.

Today, as New Zealand’s representative for our Head of State, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, I have the honour to share with you a message from Her Majesty. She writes:

As you gather today to dedicate the new Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial, there will be difficult and painful memories, but also memories of many heroic and selfless acts, of the caring and creative nature of the Christchurch people, and of the help that came so readily from emergency and rescue personnel.

I hope that the new memorial will provide a place to remember, to grieve for what is lost, and to give thanks for what remains. I am sure it will be a particularly special place for the families of those who lost their lives, and for those who were seriously injured in the earthquakes. They will be joined by many others, from New Zealand and around the world, who wish to pause and reflect on that difficult time.

I hope that this national memorial is a place of solace and reflection for all who visit.

The Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial – Oi Manawa – is a place for all people – for all those affected by the Canterbury earthquakes, wherever they live, in New Zealand and in the wider world. On behalf of you all, I now dedicate this place:

We dedicate this space as a sanctuary, to pause and remember the terrible impact of the earthquake.

We dedicate this memorial as a place of honour and respect, for those who lost their lives and for those who suffered trauma and injury.

We dedicate this space as a living testament to the courage and kindness of all people who chose to help another.

Oi whiwhia, oi rawea, tēnei te mihi maioha.

I now invite representatives of the emergency services to unveil the Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial.

Last updated: 
Wednesday, 22 February 2017

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