In that ceremony I thanked all Community House members and volunteers for continuing their important work serving the community under the difficult conditions we have endured since the Canterbury earthquake sequence.
I'd like to repeat that sentiment again today, as we celebrate the launch of Holding Hope Together.
Having an official record of the extraordinary events our city's not-for-profits endured after the quakes is invaluable, and I congratulate the book's producers for their foresight.
Holding Hope Together highlights both the wonderful things these community groups achieved post-quakes, and the contribution this sector makes to healthy, resilient communities.
As the Rev. Maurice Gray says in the book's foreword, those working on the front line of our NGO sector deserve acknowledgement for their efforts. He said this:
"The interviewees for this book were leaders of their respective organisations. Leadership is a fundamental value that people look for in times of trauma and chaos. It was very evident that the leaders stood tall during these difficult times. They inspired others and led by example thereby ensuring their organisations were able to respond to those in need during their most critical and vulnerable times."
No matter how much staff and volunteers were personally affected by the quakes, their call to service remained strong.
Holding Hope Together recognises some of this tremendous work, and will be a great resource in the future, both for the sector and the wider public.
I want to make sure that it is part of the Christchurch contribution to the Sendai UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction.
I want to acknowledge the large team of staff and volunteers that produced the book.
The transcribers; the photographer; the producers and those responsible for layout and editing.
I note that Sharon Torstonson says that the Council of Social Services managed to produce this book "in spite of not having a clue how to do it" – so a special congratulations to COSS for your achievement.
It is poignant the book is being launched just two days before the anniversary of the February 22 quake.
Four years on, I believe our city has turned a corner in its recovery, but for many there is still a long way to go.
These next two years are going to be particularly challenging for many, so if we maintain the unity and generosity that got us through those days - literally Holding Hope Together – then we will be assured of success.
Congratulations not just for the book, but for the spirit that inspired the stories it tells.
No reira, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.