Christchurch will pause at 12.51pm today to remember the devastating earthquake which struck exactly eight years ago and claimed 185 lives.

A low-key public, civic service will be held at the Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial on the banks of the Avon River from 12.30pm to remember the fallen.

Newstalk ZB host Chris Lynch said while many Cantabrians have come to accept that the quakes are part of who they are and their history, they're not defined by them.

"Residents are moving on, but many people are incredibly frustrated, not as the mess the quakes have left, but at the lack of genuine and meaningful democracy in the city," says the host of Canterbury Mornings with Chris Lynch.

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"I get really excited about seeing some of the new developments in the city, like the EnTex movie complex and the new city library. There is a real buzz in the city which makes me proud to live here.

"A few years back, I would have been embarrassed to encourage my friends in Auckland to visit the city, but now I'm feeling really proud of how shiny and new it is looking and like showing it off to visits."

However, Lynch says he's frustrated at the "number of so-called rebuild agencies that seem to be failing the people of Christchurch".

"How many organisations do we really need in a small city?" he asked.

"We have Crown-owned company Otakaro Limited, council and government partnership company Regenerate Christchurch, city council-owned company Development Christchurch, the Christchurch City Council and its tourism arm ChristchurchNZ. I'd get rid of most of them. No one really seems to know what they actually do or contribute."

Eight years on and some Cantabrians are still waiting to settle with EQC.

At the end of December, EQC was managing more than 2000 Canterbury claims.

Sue O'Brian, who is still waiting, says they had to move out when toxic black mould was discovered in their damaged home.

O'Brian says the mould has been removed and they've since returned to the house, but the fight isn't over.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel is opening a photographic exhibition entitled "Thx 4 the Memories" at Retreat Reserve this morning, while a theatrical journey of resilience will take to the stage in Christchurch.

Based on the novel Earthquakes and Butterflies, two performances are taking place at the Christchurch Transitional Cathedral tonight.

Author of the book, Kathleen Gallagher says the stage show just adds another dimension to the book.

She says the production is an opportunity for Cantabrians to acknowledge and reflect on the event.