A $10 million memorial for the victims of Christchurch's February 22 earthquake will be built on the banks of the Avon River, nestled between greenery and water, it was revealed this morning.
Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee announced the site today, alongside Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel and Kaiwhakahaere for Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu Ta Mark Solomon.
The Canterbury Earthquake Memorial will honour the people who died in the earthquake, acknowledge the trauma of people who lived it, and recognise those who helped in the rescue and recovery operation.
It will sit between Montreal Street and Rhododendron Island in the Avon River Precinct, a site chosen with the help of bereaved family members who wanted the memorial to incorporate water, trees and greenery.
Mr Brownlee said the memorial would be a special place for "all New Zealanders".
"We have been conscious that we want a memorial in a location that can be meaningful for all those who were affected by the tragedy rather than placing any emphasis on any particular site where lives were lost."
Mayor Lianne Dalziel said February 22 had had an "immeasurable impact" on the people of Christchurch and affected people throughout the world.
"Choosing a site for the memorial is a significant step forward to having a dedicated special place where people can come and reflect and remember all those we lost, and everything that people everywhere have been through on that day, and since."
Mr Solomon said the Avon River was an appropriate place for the people of Canterbury, having been a meeting place for centuries.
The Government has set aside up to $10 million for the project, to be combined with $1 million from the Mayoral Relief Fund.
The shape of the memorial will be decided through a three-stage open design process, the first stage which was launched today.
'Ideas to Remember' asks people to submit their own ideas for the memorial and is open to anyone anywhere in the world.
The second stage will narrow the submissions to six, one of which will be chosen as the design.