That was why I wanted this year's commemoration to be away from the scenes of devastation that still haunt our city. I wanted us to be surrounded by beauty.
And that is a phrase that is fitting for today; a place that surrounds us with beauty.
When the Council was asked to approve this place for our earthquake memorial, we asked two things; that this be the choice of the bereaved families first knowledge group – those who were deeply affected by the loss of a family member, a husband, a wife, a child, a parent, a brother or sister, those who were seriously injured and survivors of the major building collapses – we knew that they would know in their heart of hearts that this was the place.
And we wanted a governance group that reflected the role of the city as custodians and Ngai
Tahu as the Kaitiakitanga of this place were in partnership with central government, whose
role in this reflects the sad truth that our loss here in Christchurch has reached beyond our
borders to the international community with people of 16 other nationalities having lost their
We are particularly pleased that there will be an initial call for expressions of interest that will
be all-embracing. You don't need to be a landscape architect to have your idea capture the
imagination of the people who will make the shortlist that will go through for further design
and the final stage.
I know that this will excite the energy of many of the creative people who have come to the fore
as we transition to the city we will become.
The Lonely Planet and the New York Times have highlighted the essence of that energy and
what this brings to our city.
This call for expressions of interest will again turn the international spotlight back on
I believe this place itself will excite a lot of attention. Its natural beauty lends itself to many
I am no designer but I can already imagine elements defining our experience, whatever it may
be, that will be both meaningful and respectful of all the peoples who will seek to find solace
here as well as a sense of hope for the future.
As I said on the 22nd February, let us claim that future – remembering our past, honouring
those whose lives were lost or changed forever, respecting all who make Christchurch their
home and creating for ourselves a sense of place where we all belong.
This will be a place of belonging – a place of memory for those who have experienced the pain
of loss and at the same time a place of inspiration and hope.