Fullest list of quake victims to be released

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IN FOCUS: This Wednesday, a researcher will release the most comprehensive list of names to date of identified victims of the 1931 Hawke's Bay Earthquake.
IN FOCUS: This Wednesday, a researcher will release the most comprehensive list of names to date of identified victims of the 1931 Hawke's Bay Earthquake.

The world's largest online family history resource has compiled the most comprehensive list of names to date of identified victims of the 1931 Hawke's Bay Earthquake.

Ancestry has also managed to identify names never previously included on any official record.

This is the culmination of years' worth of research.

Ben Mercer of Ancestry will be revealing these names at a public presentation in Napier on Wednesday.

Ancestry researchers and historians have comprehensively researched all archives and prior research to produce the fullest list to date of all those who died as a result of the earthquake.

It has also undertaken comprehensive research which has resulted in the removal of some accepted fatalities (including some that were included more than once) and the inclusion of some that haven't appeared in the past.

Bearing in mind that the five-year commemoration of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake is approaching later in February, and reflecting on those horrific circumstances, the Hawke's Bay earthquake highlights the importance that naming those killed has on the act of remembrance. In Christchurch, the police disaster victim identification process and a coroner's inquest enabled the identification of all earthquake victims. This has allowed people to grieve and to come to terms with what happened. In Napier, there was no such inquest (though there was an inquest in Hastings) and officials never connected the missing to the official list of earthquake victims.

A spokesperson from Ancestry said the research was "incredibly important to remembering those who died in the Hawke's Bay Earthquake".

"The disaster is still within living memory, and accurately memorialising those who were killed as a result of the earthquake, and those who were not, is a crucial aspect of giving dignity to the dead."

Mr Mercer will be at the Napier Library on Wednesday, February 3, from about 11am.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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