Canterbury Earthquake Memorial

Progress Updates

Construction of Earthquake Memorial begins
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Work has officially begun on the Canterbury Earthquake Memorial site, starting with the north bank. A reflective gathering space will be developed here before the Memorial Wall itself is built across the river on the south bank.

The entire Memorial will be completed in time for the commemorations on 22 February 2017.

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

In May 2015 Grega Vezjak's Memorial Wall design was selected for the Canterbury Earthquake Memorial.
See The Memorial Wall design here »

The below video gives a poignant insight into the location for the Memorial, the design and design selection process. CERA Development Director, Rob Kerr, introduces us to the Canterbury Earthquake Memorial and its designer, Grega Vezjak, who shares his vision for the Memorial.

The site

The site for the Memorial is on a stretch of the Ōtākaro/Avon River between Montreal Street and Rhododendron Island. This location was selected because it is easily accessible and can accommodate one person seeking quiet reflection or events with many people.

Feedback from families of people who died in the earthquake and those who were severely injured showed they wished for the Memorial to incorporate water and greenery. This location fits well with these wishes as it is on the banks of the Ōtākaro/Avon River with many well-established large trees.

Site of the Canterbury Earthquake Memorial.


The Memorial Wall

The Memorial Wall, made of stone, will create a place of remembrance along the south bank of the Ōtākaro/Avon River. The names of those who died in the 22 February 2011 Christchurch earthquake will be inscribed into the stone. Alongside the names, information about the earthquake experiences, and acknowledgement of those seriously injured, survivors, first responders and the wider community will provide a historical record.

The Memorial space is bordered by established trees and the river, creating a quiet, private space for contemplation. Together with the north bank these two spaces form the Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial.

The Memorial Wall will be ready for its official dedication on 22 February 2017.

View of Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial from Montreal Street LEFT: Reflective Space (north bank) RIGHT: The Memorial Wall (south bank).
View of Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial from Montreal Street LEFT: Reflective Space (north bank) RIGHT: The Memorial Wall (south bank).


The reflective space

On the north bank there will be a peaceful park, with planting, established trees and a curved seat along the path edge. Here you will be able to sit, take a stroll closer to the rivers’ edge, privately reflect and view the Memorial Wall on the other side of the river.

Construction has started on the north bank and is due for completion by 22 February 2016.

View looking at the Reflective Space (north bank) from The Memorial Wall (south bank).
View looking at the reflective space (north bank) from The Memorial Wall (south bank).

Looking ahead

Following is an overview of key milestones over the coming year.

See latest Design Development »
See Ideas to Remember - shortlisted designs »

Design Panel Evaluation

Canterbury Earthquake Memorial Evaluation Panel Recommendation [PDF 9.5MB], 32 pages - includes appendix written by designer Grega Vezjak.

Canterbury Earthquake Memorial Research Analysis - 01 April 2015 [PDF 1.6MB] - report prepared by Ipsos New Zealand summarising the public feedback received on designs for the memorial.