CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND – A memorial service commemorating the third anniversary of the Christchurch quake, which claimed the lives of 185 people, including 28 Japanese students, was held Saturday in the city’s botanical gardens.
The civic ceremony was attended by Senior Vice Foreign Minister Norio Mitsuya, Japanese Ambassador Yasuaki Nogawa, dignitaries of other overseas countries and local leaders including Christchurch’s new mayor, Lianne Dalziel.
Addressing the service, Dalziel told the audience, “We have been through a lot as a city and there is still much healing to be done.” But she acknowledged that not everyone has been able to “move on” from the events.
She said she chose the location because of its proximity to the city’s peace bell — with the original gifted to the U.N. by a Japanese mayor in 1954.
“I believe that today the chiming of this bell will resonate in Japan,” Dalziel said.
The 28 Japanese victims of the quake had been studying English in Christchurch.