Two of New Zealand's most traumatic recent events were acknowledged at a Service of Remembrance in Dannevirke's The Hub in which loved ones were also remembered.

This is the 13th year a community remembrance service has been held. It was originally started by Reverend George Dempster and Tararua Funerals, which sponsors the event.

Leading the service was Reverend Jo Crosse who said Christmas could be a difficult time of the year for many.

"It is considered to be a time of celebration and a time for family and friends to gather, but when you are missing someone who has died or if we are struggling with some kind of personal loss or grief it can feel very sad and lonely.

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Soft candlelight sets the scene at The Hub for a remembrance service.
Soft candlelight sets the scene at The Hub for a remembrance service.

"Tonight we take time to remember and to support each other, together taking another step along the path of healing."

She said it must also be remembered that the country had suffered two traumatic events, the effects of which were felt throughout the world.

"In February we were horrified by the mosque attacks and the terrible consequences for the Muslim community in particular, but also stunned by the realisation that we are not the safe haven we had thought we were.

"And yet there were times, as we responded to those attacks, when we showed the good we are capable of."

She said people needed to hold on to the sense of hope and possibility that got them through that horror and pulled communities together.

"Over the past few days we have been given a shocking reminder of jut how powerful the forces of nature are, and how powerless we are by comparison.

"The eruption of Whakaari/White Island has left families and communities devastated and bereft, questioning and challenging. And at the same time we have seen ordinary people become heroes, people doing whatever they can to help others and support the rescue efforts."

She said once again this showed how disaster and loss can bring people together for good.

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Two candles marked Remembrance and Hope were lit and a few moments silence were spent in thinking of those who were affected by the two tragedies - locally, nationally and internationally.

The names of those who had died over the last 12 months were read out and family representatives were invited to light a candle in memory of their loved ones.

The Remembrance and Hope candles are lit in memory of those who died in the Christchurch mosque attacks and the Whakaari/White Island disaster.
The Remembrance and Hope candles are lit in memory of those who died in the Christchurch mosque attacks and the Whakaari/White Island disaster.

Tararua Funerals owner funeral director Tracey Friend said 212 candles were lit during the ceremony.

She said some of those who attended had been to all but one service over the years it had been held as they had found it to be such a great service.

Representatives of the Dannevirke Cancer Support Group and other community support networks helped at the service with the lighting of candles for those who had no family representatives present.

Friend said she reworded Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's message to those who have lost loved ones or are grieving: "You are forever linked to our nation and we will hold you close."

"I directed this to the people who came to the service with the words 'I say to you who have lost and grieve, you are forever linked to this community and we hold you close'."