Quake- a year on: Service heightens sense of poignancy

By Vaimoana Tapaleao

Construction workers on the corner of Manchester and Lichfield streets in central Christchurch. File photo / Simon Baker
Construction workers on the corner of Manchester and Lichfield streets in central Christchurch. File photo / Simon Baker

As a stream of people walk up to the Holy Trinity Cathedral altar to light candles, a woman turns to her friend and begins to cry.

The friend puts her arm around her and she, too, begins to cry.

Dozens of people have gathered at the cathedral in Parnell, Auckland, for a special memorial service marking the first anniversary of the Christchurch tragedy.

Many, decked out in Canterbury red and black, look on solemnly as prayers are said. Others bow their heads as two young women sing a hauntingly beautiful hymn.

Monsignor David Tonks, of St Patrick's Cathedral, reads from the Bible of hope and the need for faith.

Olivia Ward is the woman being comforted by her friend. Originally from Merivale, the 26-year-old remembers clearly that day a year ago. "I just feel so blessed that I didn't lose anyone ...

I was crying for Christchurch, really."

Also in the congregation is playwright, song-writer and actress Tanya Muagututi'a. Wearing an "I love Christchurch" T-shirt, she is among those who walk up to the altar to light candles for the dead.

Sitting in the cathedral with her family is poignant in itself, she says, as they were in Christchurch and she was in Auckland when the quake struck. "Luckily, everybody was okay."

Mrs Muagututi'a says the day is also about remembering family friends Jeff Sanft and Jaime Gilbert, who died.

- NZ Herald

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