Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has today (Thurs.) told Cantabrians the Government and rest of New Zealand will continue to stand "shoulder to shoulder" with them as the region remembers its earthquake victims seven years on and continues its post-disaster rebuild.
Ardern gave an address at a civic service in Christchurch commemorating the seventh anniversary of the February 2011 earthquake.
The 45-minute service at the Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial Oi Manawa on the banks of the Avon River attracted a large crowd of several hundred.
It took 11 minutes to read out the names of the 185 people who lost their lives in the earthquake disaster and who are remembered on the Memorial Wall.
Ardern said that no matter what, they will never be forgotten and "we will keep their dreams alive".
A minute's silence was held at 12.51pm, the time the magnitude-6.3 tremor struck seven years ago.
Chairman of the Quake Families Trust Tim Elms, whose daughter Teresa McLean died in the CTV building collapse, helped welcome guests on behalf of the city.
Elms said New Zealand has had its share of disasters, citing the 1896 Brunner mine explosion, the Napier earthquake of 1931, the Tangiwai railway disaster in 1953, the Wahine sinking in 1968, Erebus in 1979, Cave Creek in 1995 and Pike River in November 2010 and just a few months later the Christchurch quake.
But he said that while they all touched Kiwis in some way, they all illustrated how the people demonstrated courage, determination, and kindness in tough times, and result in an outpouring of love and support.
There were tears and hugs from members of the public throughout the sombre service.
Afterwards, families and survivors led the public to walk to the Memorial Wall to lay wreaths, flowers, and tributes.
A new memorial at the site of Christchurch's Canterbury Television building, which claimed 115 lives when it collapsed in the quake, was blessed last night.
Earlier today, Ardern announced the first stage of the Government's plan to deliver dedicated mental health support to primary and intermediate schools in Christchurch and Kaikoura where children are living with the legacy of earthquakes.