Canterbury Earthquake Memorial

Lead Agency Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority

The Canterbury Earthquake Memorial is planned in recognition of the events that have occurred in Canterbury and to help in the recovery of Christchurch by providing a focus for remembering.  Memory projects will be important for helping earthquake survivors to move forward and honour the lives of those who died.

Canterbury Earthquake Memorial

Site for the Canterbury Earthquake Memorial; see more at the Christchurch Central Development Unit website

The Canterbury Earthquake Memorial will honour the lives of those who died in the earthquake, acknowledge the trauma of people who experienced the earthquake and recognise those who helped in the rescue and recovery operation in the hours and days following the February 22 quake.

The chosen site is part of Te Papa Ōtākaro / Avon River Precinct between Montreal Street and Rhododendron Island.  The site was selected following feedback from bereaved family members, which showed common themes of a wish for the memorial to incorporate water, trees and greenery.  The site also fits the criteria of being easy to access from the central city, and in a peaceful and reflective setting.

The shape of the Memorial will be decided through an anonymous open design process.  The first stage of the process is called “Ideas to Remember” which calls for people to submit their ideas of what the memorial should be – open to anyone of any age, across the world.

MCH led the first phase of the Canterbury Earthquake Memorial project in collaboration with the CCC, CERA and Ngāi Tahu. CERA is leading the second (implementation) phase of the project including site selection, design and construction of the Memorial.  CERA’s statutory partners, with the inclusion of MCH, continue to work together on its delivery.

The Steering Group will manage the following aspects of the project

First phase completed – led by MCH

  • site criteria and selection
  • project budget
  • consultation process undertaken and documented

Second Phase – led by CERA

  • site confirmation
  • communications and engagement throughout the project
  • design selection via rigorous competitive process
  • detailed designs
  • construction of memorial
  • unveiling of the memorial (planned with strategic partners)

The unveiling of the Canterbury Earthquake Memorial is planned for February 2016.

The Government has set aside up to $10 million for the Memorial, along with $1 million from the Mayoral Relief Fund.

Canterbury Earthquakes Images, Stories and Media Integrated Collection (CEISMIC)

Lead Agency – CEISMIC consortium

The CEISMIC consortium was launched in October 2012 and is dedicated to the preservation and study of information relating to the Canterbury earthquakes.  Consortium members include MCH, Te Papa, Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision, the University of Canterbury, National Library, NZ On Screen, Christchurch City Libraries, CERA, Canterbury Museum and the Ngāi Tahu Research Centre. The CEISMIC website, as it develops over time, will become the portal to a world-class, federated archive of Canterbury earthquake stories, images and media.

As part of CEISMIC, MCH has established the QuakeStories website in partnership with NZ Interactive. Members of the public are invited to contribute earthquake stories in their own words to create a living memorial to share with future generations.

Remembering Christchurch – Oral History Project

Lead Agency – MCH (Alison Parr, oral historian)

During 2013, MCH recorded twenty life history interviews with long-term Christchurch citizens aged between 70 and 90, representing the diversity of Christchurch life.  The focus of the project is their memories of the city in decades past – the human heritage that was part of Christchurch and its suburbs before so much was lost or changed in the earthquakes.

The interviews are being edited and a book of extracts with illustrations was published in 2015.


Updated on 20th September 2016