The Canterbury Earthquake Memorial will provide a place to reflect on the events that changed Canterbury forever, paying respect to the 185 people who lost their lives on 22 February 2011. It will acknowledge the shared trauma and huge support received with the recovery operation that followed.

The design, by Slovenian architect Grega Vezjak, has been chosen from the short-list of six designs to be built on the stretch of the Ōtākaro/Avon River between Montreal Street and Rhododendron Island.

“I think it will be a stunning tribute to the victims of Canterbury’s earthquakes, those who suffered through the quakes, and the courage of those who participated in the rescue and recovery operations,” Mr Brownlee says.


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Associate Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Nicky Wagner says funding of up to $10 million from the Government, and $1 million from the Christchurch Earthquake Mayoral Relief Fund, will be used for the development of the Memorial.

A design called The Memorial Wall will make for a beautiful and fitting Canterbury Earthquake Memorial, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says.

“People will be able to follow the wall and take in the memories and acknowledgements of what occurred, and then cross a new pedestrian bridge to a beautiful gathering space where they can take time to reflect.

“Slovenia has a long history of earthquakes and Mr Vezjak has empathy for those affected by the Christchurch quakes,” Mr Brownlee says.

“The design will be developed to ensure a welcoming experience for visitors, including a reflective space on the north bank where people can gather opposite the Memorial Wall on the south bank,” Ms Wagner says.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel says: “We look forward to seeing the design evolve into the kind of space that honours the memory of those who died or were seriously injured, acknowledges the struggles people still face as a result of the earthquakes, and expresses gratitude for the outpouring of support we received.”

“Watching the Memorial take shape, to fit with the other places of remembrance in and around Christchurch, will help us reflect on all we have been through, while inspiring hope for the future.”

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere Tā Mark Solomon says: “Today we have reached another milestone in the journey to create a Memorial that we can be proud of. It has been a thorough and careful process that has brought us to this stage, and I look forward to the next steps in the evolution of what will become a special place by the Ōtākaro/Avon River.”

More than 330 submissions were received from 37 countries to design the memorial. The 6 short-listed designs were selected in 2014 and tweaked in consultation with families who lost loved ones and those who suffered serious injuries in the earthquakes, before being made available to the public for consultation.

Stakeholders, including emergency service first responders and victims’ families, and a panel of arts professionals and architecture experts recommended a preferred design to the memorial leadership group, made up of Ms Wagner, Ms Dalziel, Sir Mark and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Maggie Barry. That group then made a recommendation to the Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Gerry Brownlee. The announcement of the final design “ the Memorial Wall” by Grega Vezjak was made on Wednesday 13th May 2015.

Images of The Memorial Wall design and more information on the Memorial project can be found here.