Memorial Service latest updates

Salvation Army volunteers arriving to help at the Memorial Service. Photo / NZPA
Salvation Army volunteers arriving to help at the Memorial Service. Photo / NZPA
3.40pm
That concludes our latest updates from the National Memorial Service in Christchurch.
3.26pm
After planting the tree, Prince William was presented with a carving made from a tree that fell in the quake, along with some rubble from the quake and feathers from a hawk.
3.10pm Christchurch woman Maureen Dixon, 64, says the service was "wonderfully inspiring".

"It gave us all the hope and inspiration that we needed to get going again.

"I was very, very touched by a lot of what was said and particularly the care that people have shown."

Aleysha Knowles, of Perth, used to work for CTV and has been back in Canterbury for funerals of friends and former colleagues.

She said the service was "very, very beautiful".

"It was really moving but it was also giving a lot of people hope."

"It spoke about the future and rebuilding in Christchurch which I think is important to the people that are here and will obviously stay here.

"Because they need to now look forward."

Peter Haggert, 49, of Christchurch said he doubted anyone would leave this service without a tear in their eye.

He said he and others would be leaving with mixed emotions.

"I think it's a tribute to those who have lost their lives and a way to thank the search and rescue guys, defence, police ... everybody.

"It's been a very emotional day for everyone."

3pm Prince William has planted an English beech tree in a part of Hagley Park near the Avon River, where a lot of trees were uprooted in the earthquake.

He is receiving almost rockstar-like treatment from a large group of people. The Prince has been shaking hands and speaking with them.

Prime Minister John Key, his wife Bronagh and Mark Solomon from Ngai Tahu helped the Prince plant the tree, from the Botanical Gardens Nursery. The Prince joked to the high-heel-wearing Mrs Key that she "had the heels for it".


2.49pm Op Shop frontman Jason Kerrison is now performing.
2.38pm The crowd is applauding Hayley Westenra's performance, some calling for an encore.

Dave Dobbyn has now taken the stage and is now performing Welcome Home.

2.36pm Hayley Westenra is now giving a rendition of Pokarekare Ana on stage.
2.33pm "Rise up Christchurch", reads a banner flown behind a plane over Hagley Park.
2.29pm The dignitaries are now leaving the stage to present flowers at the foot of the brazier holding the torch.

Prince William has made his way over to the crowd to meet the families who lost loved ones.

2.25pm The New Zealand national anthem, God Defend New Zealand is now being sung, first in Te Reo Maori, then in English.
2.20pm The Choir of the Christchurch Cathedral has just finished singing.

Images of the rescue workers are now being shown on the large screens at Hagley Park, to appreciative applause.

Footage of volunteers cleaning the street, workers fixing utilities, officials, people around the country volunteering is also being screened, again to applause.

The montage is set to Conquest of Paradise by Vangelis.

2.18pm Now is the Blessing of Congregation from a gathering of leaders.


Meanwhile, an aftershock has been felt during the service. The 3.3 magnitude quake was centred within 5km of Christchurch at a depth of 6km and struck at 2.07pm, GNS Science reports.

2.12pm "February 22 will be a day remembered in Christchurch history and you the living will tell the story of where you were when it happened at 12.51," Anglican Bishop Victoria Matthews says.

"But that is not the only story you will tell ... [you] will also have the opportunity to tell the story of what came after the tragedy of February 22.

"What story will you tell?

"The new Christchurch may well win awards but I hope that is not the story you will tell. The story I hope you will tell is of the spirit of the community."

2.09pm Anglican Bishop Victoria Matthews said on February 22 everyone woke up as though it was any other day.

"Right up until 12.51 when the earth moved under our feet and our world fell apart."

2.04pm Dame Malvina Major and Patrick Manning are now singing Pie Jesu.
2.02pm Two prayers from the Baha'i community have now been read, one in English, the other in Te Reo Maori.
2pm A Hindu prayer is now being given, sung in Sanskrit.
1.58pm Onto a Christian prayer, in both Te Reo and English.
1.57pm Now a Jewish prayer, one that is given following the death of Jews, is being read - not just for the three Jewish victims of the quake but for all the victims. It is partly Hebrew and Aramaic.
1.52pm A Muslim prayer is now being given.
1.51pm A Buddhist prayer is underway for both the victims and survivors of the Christchurch and Japan disasters.
1.46pm Christchurch singer Hayley Westenra is now singing Amazing Grace.
1.44pm The Salvation Army's Major Clive Nicholson is now praying for Christchurch.

Victoria Matthews, the Anglican Bishop of Christchurch, earlier prayed for Japan before delivering the Lord's Prayer.

1.40pm A flame on the stage, symbolising the presence of God, has been lit by the Student Volunteer Army's organiser Sam Johnson and Patsy Te Are.

Timua Brennan is now singing the hymn How Great Thou Art, in Te Reo and in English.

1.34pm USAR task force deputy leader Ralph Moore has read Psalm 24 from the Bible.

Dame Malvina Major is now singing You'll Never Walk Alone.

1.30pm Leader of the Opposition Phil Goff said at the time of the quake, 12.51pm February 22, "Christchurch and the people who live there were changed forever".

"For all those here, we will never forget that experience."

He said today was a day to grieve for those lost but also to give thanks to the rescuers, police force, defence force and volunteers.

"This is also a time for hope, hope born from the resilience of Cantabrians that they can get through this."

He said the city would be rebuilt stronger and safer.

"I believe that as Kiwis we will have the vision and commitment to do that."

1.18pm The Prime Minister has paid tribute to the way the country pulled together to support Canterbury.

"Today I want to talk not only of loss but also of hope," he said.

"It is simply not possible to list all the ways people have supported each other ... simply because they were fellow humans and in desperate need."

He added, "We have witnessed in these past three weeks the very best of human spirit. We've seen the coming together of a city and a country."

Mr Key also acknowledged the goodwill and assistance that flooded in from across the world following the quake.

"On behalf of all New Zealanders I say thank you."

1.12pm Prime Minister John Key on the strength of the February 22 quake that devastated Christchurch: "It has left scars that will never be erased from our land and our hearts."

Mr Key said New Zealanders should remember those who lost their lives on February 22.

"They are faces of a Christchurch that will never be the same again."

1.10pm Governor General Anand Satyanand has read a passage from Roman philosopher Seneca.

"Though we grieve the deaths of our loved ones, we accept them and hold on to their memories as precious gifts."


1.07pm Prince William says the determination of Cantabrians is known around the world.

"You are an inspiration to all people. I count myself enormously privileged to be here to tell you that.

"Kia kaha, be strong."


1.05pm Prince William has passed on his condolences from the royal family.

"My grandmother once said grief is the price you pay for love."


1.03pm "As a city we have to find a way take this weight and find a way to go forward," Mr Parker says.

"It seems to me those lives that have been lost have to be given real meaning as we go forward."

Mr Parker said the city would need to be rebuilt so that a similar disaster will not happen again.

"We will rise this time."

He said Christchurch will one day again be the "most beautiful place on earth".

12.59pm "Why did it have to be here?" Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker asks. "How do we go on as a city? How do we find a way to make sense of this thing?"
12.53pm The two minutes silence has now ended.
12.51pm Peter Beck has invited the crowd to stand for two minutes' silence.
12.49pm Peter Beck, the Dean of Christchurch Cathedral, says one of the most important things about the service is everyone gathering together.

"We are all gathered here because we all love and care and have such a deep deep grief for what has been lost."

He said there were not just tears of grief, but also of thankfulness.

"Sometimes in the worst of times we see the best of people."

12.44pm The English national anthem, God Save the Queen, is now being sung.
12.38pm The Christchurch Memorial Service is now underway with members of Ngai Tahu opening proceedings.

Ben Brennan sounded the conch shell before Henare Rakiihia Tau, from Ngai Tahu sub-tribe Ngai Tuahuriri, welcomed the crowd and gave prayers of thanksgiving.

Family members of those killed in the quake are in 400 seats specially laid out in front of the main stage, which is adorned with flowers. A pile of broken bricks and rubble sits in front of the stage, which lined on each side by New Zealand flags.

They were welcomed firstly in Te Reo Maori and secondly in English.

"The most important part of our family tree is the living, for it is only the living that can sow seeds that grow," said Ngai Tahu elder Henare Rakiihia.


12.35pm Prince William is now on stage and has had a Korowai (cloak) draped over him to signify the importance of his position.

Other dignitaries include Prime Minister John Key, Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker.


12.30pm Prince William has arrived at the service to applause from the crowd.


Tens of thousands have gathered in Hagley Park - the majority in red and black.

12.22pm Footage of the damage in Christchurch's central business district is being shown on large screens at Hagley Park ahead of the service.

Some of the footage has never been shown in public before.


12.02pm Prince William has thanked the Student Army for a "fantastic job".

The Prince took a moment before today's ceremony to speak to members of the voluntary group, who presented him with a hat and T-shirt.

Kohan McNab, 23, said the Prince wanted to know exactly what the group did.

"He asked about the makeup of the army," McNab said.

"He was really relaxed. He seemed really interested in what we've done and he was quite impressed."

He said it was really good to get recognition from Prince William.

11.45am A memorial service will be held in Dublin this weekend to pay tribute to those killed in the Christchurch earthquake.

Relatives of Eoin McKenna and John Joe O'Connor, both Irishmen killed in the magnitude 6.3 quake, will attend.

The New Zealand ambassador and defence attache will travel from London to meet the families.

The service will take place on Sunday at 3.30pm at Christchurch's namesake cathedral in Dublin.

11.20am Families of those who died in last month's Christchurch earthquake have begun arriving at Hagley Park for today's memorial service.

New Zealanders will also be turning their thoughts to Christchurch today, with events taking place in Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton and Dunedin (see bottom of this article for details).

Official guests, including Prime Minister John Key, Prince William, and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard are due to start arriving about 12.15.

During the day, which has also been declared a regional public holiday, singers Hayley Westenra, Dame Malvina Major and Dave Dobbyn will perform.

11.15am: Prince William has left Sumner, to cheers from residents. Local MP Ruth Dyson said she was delighted with the visit: "I'm so proud of Sumner".
11.08am: Security have moved in as the excited crowd swarms around Prince William. Police are trying to keep people back but the prince is calm.
11.02am: A local invited Prince William for a surf, to which he responded that he'd "love to".
10.50am: Prince William is now talking to locals and shaking hands. He posed with one little girl - Maih Grey, 9 - and while her mum was taking the picture he jokingly hurried her up.
10.30am: Prince William has arrived in Sumner and is now talking to local city councillors and the MP.

The crowd erupted in clapping when he arrived.

10.12am: Prince William's arrival in Sumner has been delayed. A middle-aged woman has fainted in the crowd that is lining the streets and is being treated by a doctor.

Other events around New Zealand:

Auckland

A service will be held at the Cenotaph at the Auckland Domain at 7pm.

Those who attend the hour-long service will be encouraged to light candles and lay flowers after the ceremony.

Mayor Len Brown says it is important people take time to reflect on Christchurch's "loss, spirit, courage and resilience as New Zealand works together with the people of Canterbury in their time of need."

Free buses will run from Customs Street outside the Mercure Hotel in the CBD every 10 minutes from 5.30pm until 7pm.

Hamilton

A memorial service will be held in Hamilton's Garden Place from 12.15pm.

It will include live streaming of the Christchurch service on a big screen and an opening address by Hamilton deputy mayor Gordon Chesterman.

Hastings

The commemoration service will be screened in Hastings District libraries from 12.30pm in Flaxmere, Hastings and Havelock North.

The service will conclude at around 2.30pm and includes two minutes silence at 12.51pm, the time the earthquake struck.

Palmerston North

The national service will be broadcast at All Saints Church on 348 Church Street, Palmerston North. Doors open at noon.

Wellington

The National Memorial Service will be screened live in the TSB Bank Arena at Queens Wharf. Doors open at 12pm.

Councillor Ian McKinnon - who will be representing the council at the screening as Mayor Celia Wade-Brown is in Christchurch - says Wellingtonians have shown real empathy for the people of Christchurch.

"We also know there are now a number of Christchurch families in Wellington and this will enable them to 'stand as one' at this difficult time."

A small space will also be provided in Wellington Central Library for people to watch the broadcast.

Blenheim

A memorial service will be held at St Andrews Presbyterian Church, corner of Alfred St and Henry St (opp Seymore Sq) at 7.30pm.

Timaru

A memorial service starts at noon at St Mary's Church, 24 Church Street.

Dunedin

A memorial service will be held at Knox Church, on George St in Dunedin from 7m, and at First Church of Otago, 415 Moray Place at 12.15pm.

Invercargill
The Civic Theatre will open its doors to the public to watch the memorial service live on the big screen from noon.

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