Christchurch Memorial Service

Today, Christchurch held a memorial service to remember those who died following the earthquake on February 22nd. It was a public holiday for Canterbury so that many people could attend. The service was held outdoors in Hagley Park at midday and thousands of people attended. It was a warm sunny day. Families, young people and the old came with their picnic lunches, wearing sun hats and sunglasses, but it was not a day to celebrate. It was a sad occasion.

Prince William was there representing the Queen and he spoke of his sadness for Christchurch. The Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, the Governor-General, the mayor spoke also. They reminded the crowd that it was not just Christchurch people who died – there were English language students and tourists from many countries also. They were people who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

There was singing and prayers. Representatives from many different religions gave prayers: Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Baha’i, Muslim and Christian. Sign language interpreters were on the stage interpreting the speakers so the deaf people could understand.

Before the service began, the crowd watched a 14 minute video of the damage in the red zone, the CBD. Most people have not yet been allowed into the red zone so have not yet seen what it is like. The video was shocking. The damage was more than anyone could imagine. Upside-down cars, buses with no roof or side, whole rows of buildings which had lost the outside wall, churches with holes in the roof and walls – it was amazing that anyone managed to escape these buildings. Everywhere, there were piles of rubble – bricks, concrete, stone, steel. The city was deserted except for search and rescue people. The city was silent except for the occasional sound of a helicopter or a siren.

To watch this video, go to Inside Christchurch’s Red Zone

At 9 minutes to 1pm which was the time of the earthquake, church bells in other cities rang and people stood for 2 minutes silence to remember the tragedy in Christchurch.

Note: the video was shocking / the people were shocked; It was amazing / people were amazed
English has many adjectives like this e.g. tiring / tired, interesting / interested. What is the rule?

New Zealand sign language is the third official language in New Zealand (English and Maori are the other two). This earthquake is the first time that sign language interpreters have been used on TV and for a public function like this. It costs money to use interpreters of course. What public occasions should have interpreters for the deaf?

Why were prayers given by representatives of different religions?


  1. Thank you so much everytime.I love this site.
    By the way I have small problem here,If I push the pause butten
    the sound is gone blurry..when I start again..some parts are gone please make the pause function be normal.Thanks.

  2. I wish I knew how to help but unfortunately the technical aspects are not part of my expertise. I would welcome advice from anyone who can help.

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