Prime Minister John Key has thanked the Defence Force for its service in Christchurch, as the final cordons around the CBD were lifted this afternoon.
The red zone fence and barriers that have been up for 857 days are down and people in Christchurch are once again free to roam their city.
At the official lifting of the barriers this afternoon, Mr Key says the cordon had become a symbol of what has happened in Christchurch.
He says today marks the official end of the involvement of the Defence Force, who have had a major presence in the city.
"You have been a reassuring presence for the people of Christchurch as they have come to terms with this natural disaster and set about rebuilding their lives and their communities."
About 300 members of the public attended the 2pm ceremony.
Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee and Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman were also to mark the occasion.