15 February 2016
Around 70 New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel led by the Commanding Officer of the sealift and amphibious support vessel HMNZS CANTERBURY will attend the 22 February memorial service marking Christchurch’s devastating earthquake five years ago.
The navy vessel was docked in Lyttelton Port when the 6.3-magnitude quake struck on 22 February 2011.
“When disaster struck, our Defence Force was among the first agencies to come to the aid of Cantabrians. We deployed our people and our assets to help Christchurch and the surrounding areas,” the Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Tim Keating said.
“Next week, our people will join the citizens of Canterbury as they remember those who died or suffered loss because of the earthquake.”
Commander (CDR) Simon Rooke, Commanding Officer of CANTERBURY, will lay a wreath on behalf of the NZDF whilst one of the ship’s junior officers will read out the names of 10 of the 185 casualties during the service.
Representatives from the Navy, Army and Air Force will lay service wreaths. In all, about 70 NZDF personnel will attend the ceremony.
“NZDF personnel are attending the memorial service to pay respect to the many people killed by the earthquake and the thousands more whose lives were disrupted. We will join their families and friends in remembering the lives that were lost,” CDR Rooke said.
Over 1,000 New Zealand Army personnel were deployed to Christchurch to assist civilian agencies in the wake of the massive earthquake. CANTERBURY provided thousands of meals to those affected and transported vehicles, equipment, water and other supplies to the devastated areas.
HMNZS OTAGO, HAWEA, RESOLUTION and the Navy’s Hydrographic Support and Dive Teams were deployed to Lyttelton to assist in the response and played a vital role in opening the harbour. Royal New Zealand Air Force aircraft transported freight, displaced people, and personnel specialising in urban search and rescue and emergency services.
The memorial will be held at the Archery Lawn of the Christchurch Botanic Gardens from 12pm on 22 February.
For further information, please contact Defence Public Affairs on 021 487 980