The sound of the chimes echoed among the crowd at 10.47 yesterday morning to mark the moment the New Zealand's biggest natural disaster struck on February 3, 1931.
Both young and old gathered as part of the Hawke's Bay earthquake commemoration service by the Hastings Clock Tower for the 88th anniversary.
And while the devastating earthquake, measuring 7.8 on the Richter Scale, lasted for just one minute, the memories and emotions from that day are still at the fore for many.
The region was devastated. At least 256 people died and many more were injured.
The quake also changed the appearance of Hawke's Bay after it toppled buildings, destroyed roads and started fires throughout Hastings and Napier.
Norma Culver was just 7 when the quake struck. At the time, she was in class and remembers being among all the children trying to get out the door.
"I was at a convent at that time and Sister Joan was standing with her arms across the door holding us back, because there was a big chimney outside," Culver said.
Now 95, she's attended almost all of the remembrance services and believes it is an important part of the region's history.
"It was pretty awful."
At the service, pipers from the City of Hastings Pipe Band walked to each end of the downtown area and then led dignitaries on to the stage.
Hastings District Councillor Kevin Watkins was the Master of Ceremonies and Hazlehurst, Bishop of Waiapu Rt Rev Andrew Hedge and kaumātua Mike Paku delivered a few words.
Hazlehurst said the day "gives us a chance to come together and reflect on what our families, and community went through during this and after this disaster - the loss of life, the healing of physical and emotional injuries and then the long process of rebuilding our cities and homes".
As well as reflecting on the sadness and loss of the tragedy, Hazlehurst said it was an important reminder of the need to be prepared for natural disasters.
"At times of disaster, the more prepared and equipped we are, the better we can help our people and the better we can help each other."
Head students from four schools in Hastings and Havelock North, including Iona College, Hastings Girls' and Boys' High and Hastings Intermediate schools read extracts from various reports and publications written in the days immediately following the seismic shock.
A moment of silence was observed and Hazlehurst also laid a wreath at the clock tower with survivors of the quake.
Councillor Henare O'Keefe led the National Anthem and the Kahurangi Māori Dane Company gave two other performances before a karakia signalled the end of the service.
In the afternoon, a number of people, including several survivors met at Napier Boys' High School for the annual survivors' afternoon tea.