More than 10,000 New Zealanders and 90 people from Japan, some teary eyed, stood in silence at a Christchurch park Wednesday while police officers and firefighters read out the names of all 185 people who died in a devastating earthquake one year ago.
The reading was followed by two minutes of silence at 12:51 p.m., the minue the magnitude 6.3 quake struck.
It destroyed thousands of homes and much of downtown Christchurch, causing $25 billion in damage by the government's estimate.
The ceremony at North Hagley Park, which included speeches and songs, was part of a day of remembrance taking place across the country.
Police spokesman Stephen Hill said the emergency services representatives who read the names had been involved in rescue efforts.
185 vivid orange and black monarch butterflies were released by eaight quake-affected children at the end of the ceremony.
Each butterfly represented one person who died, "a soul departed."
Family and friends of 24 of the 28 Japanese victims, who all died when the CTV building collapsed, were among the participants in a government-sponsored ceremony and offered a moment of silence.
They also went to the site of the collapsed building, most of them apparently for the first time, and offered flowers and took photos at the site, which is still closed to prevent another possible disaster during aftershocks.
a monument at the site of the now-demolished of CTV building
See what happened in Christchurch a year ago→http://eh-take.blogspot.com/2011/02/crisis-church.html