When the Christchurch earthquake hit, Glenn Prattley's quick reaction likely saved his sister's life. But he was unable to do anything for his partner and 5-week-old daughter.

It is something that still haunts the 28-year-old as he tries to come to terms with his loss.

Mr Prattley was in central Christchurch beside his sister, Rochelle, with his partner Kelsey Moore, 18, trailing behind them with baby daughter Taneysha, when the quake showered them with debris from crumbling buildings.

He remembers pushing his sister out of the way of falling glass before his legs were crushed and he blacked out. He did not see what happened to Miss Moore and Taneysha. In hospital with his injuries, it was 13 days before he got confirmation that the pair had died.

"All the time that thought crosses my mind: I have managed to help my sister, but why couldn't I do anything to help my partner and my daughter? It's just nature taking its course isn't it?"

Just before the quake, Mr Prattley had taken Taneysha out of the pram because she was upset, and passed her into the arms of Miss Moore.

"I remember everything right up until they got my sister out. Once they got my sister out, then I blacked out after that. Apparently it was about five or six hours before they got me out, and of course I was half conscious at that time."

Now staying with his parents in Mosgiel, near Dunedin, he is looking ahead to a memorial service for his partner and child. He only recently received his daughter's ashes.

A funeral was held in Christchurch for Miss Moore and Taneysha, but Mr Prattley said issues with his partner's family meant he did not feel included.

He has had trouble sleeping since the quake, and the events of February 22 are always on his mind.

Although he only had five weeks with Taneysha, he will always remember her smiles, and how she always had the hiccups.

Miss Moore, who he had been with for two years, was a caring mother and "always put others before herself".