Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial, Christchurch

Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial, Christchurch

The Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial can be found on both sides of the Avon River, downstream of the Montreal Street Bridge. There was a call for "Ideas to Remember." What was needed was "A place where people can spend time in reflection..." Slavonian architect Grega Vezjak's design filled the bill.

The memorial should: 1) Honor the 185 people who died; 2) Give thanks for those who helped in rescue and recovery; 3) Permit people to share experiences; 4) Provide a space for an annual gathering on 22 February and other events; and 5) become a point for contemplation and remembering. The Memorial has done all these things.

The memorial is designed to provide two different areas on either side of the curving Avon River. A space of parkland is on the north bank. It has trees, seating and gardens. Across the river on the south bank is the memorial wall with the names of those who died. The Maori name for the memorial is "Oi Manawa", "tremor of the heart."

Nondescript forms of concrete in the river remind one of the destructive tectonic forces of the earthquake. Water flows between and around these forms. The water of the river flowing by evokes the violence of the quake and the oppressive silence that followed.

There is a simple balance in the design, creating a feeling of sadness and loss. One can sit quietly, listening to the sounds of nature.

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Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial on Map

Sight Name: Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial
Sight Location: Christchurch, New Zealand (See walking tours in Christchurch)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Christchurch, New Zealand

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