The mayor of Christchurch will make a formal apology this weekend to the bereaved families of victims who died from building collapses or falling masonry during the deadly 2011 earthquake.
With the ninth anniversary of the disaster tomorrow, Mayor Lianne Dalziel will make the civic apology on Sunday to those whose loved ones died or were seriously injured.
A total of 185 people died in the magnitude 6.3 quake at 12.51pm on February 22, 2011, including 115 people when the six-storey Canterbury Television building collapsed.
In studying the collapse of the CTV Building, the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Canterbury earthquakes found serious errors by engineers, structural designers and the Christchurch City Council.
Dalziel wrote to bereaved family members late last year to invite them to her formal apology on Sunday at the refurbished Arts Centre in the central city where she will "offer my deepest condolences … [and] also wish to offer a formal apology to those whose loved ones died or those who were seriously injured as a result of building collapses or falling masonry".
"You may be aware that as the Mayor of Christchurch, I have wanted to make this formal apology for a long time," she said in the letter seen by the Herald.
"I am acutely aware of the time it has taken to get to this point. I am also acutely aware that an apology is not something that every bereaved family member or person who was injured has indicated is important to them. However, I wanted to offer this invitation to everyone."
The ninth anniversary of the killer quake will be marked with a public civic service at the Oi Manawa Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial site tomorrow at 12.30pm.
The Quake Families Trust has worked closely with the council to plan the "low key" 45-minute event. Afterwards, the public is invited to lay floral tributes at the Memorial Wall across the river.
With Japan losing many victims in the CTV Building collapse, a delegation is coming to Christchurch for the memorial event, and is expected to be at the formal apology.
Professor Maan Alkaisi, spokesman for the CTV Families Group, is also expected to attend.
Dalziel said in the letter that the tragedy has had a direct bearing on the work the council and Government have done to make buildings safer.
And now that inquiries and investigations in the tragedy have concluded, she feels the time is right to make the formal apology.