A design called The Memorial Wall will make for a beautiful and fitting Canterbury Earthquake Memorial, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says.
The design, by Slovenian architect Grega Vezjak, has been chosen from the short-list of six designs to be built on the stretch of the Otākaro/Avon River between Montreal Street and Rhododendron Island.
“I think it will be a stunning tribute to the victims of Canterbury’s earthquakes, those who suffered through the quakes, and the courage of those who participated in the rescue and recovery operations,” Mr Brownlee says.
“People will be able to follow the wall and take in the memories and acknowledgements of what occurred, and then cross a new pedestrian bridge to a beautiful gathering space where they can take time to reflect.
“Slovenia has a long history of earthquakes and Mr Vezjak has empathy for those affected by the Christchurch quakes,” Mr Brownlee says.
Associate Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Nicky Wagner says funding of up to $10 million from the Government, and $1 million from the Christchurch Earthquake Mayoral Relief Fund, will be used for the development of the Memorial.
“The design will be developed to ensure a welcoming experience for visitors, including a reflective space on the north bank where people can gather opposite the Memorial Wall on the south bank,” Ms Wagner says.
Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel says: “We look forward to seeing the design evolve into the kind of space that honours the memory of those who died or were seriously injured, acknowledges the struggles people still face as a result of the earthquakes, and expresses gratitude for the outpouring of support we received.”
“Watching the Memorial take shape, to fit with the other places of remembrance in and around Christchurch, will help us reflect on all we have been through, while inspiring hope for the future.”
Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere Tā Mark Solomon says: “Today we have reached another milestone in the journey to create a Memorial that we can be proud of. It has been a thorough and careful process that has brought us to this stage, and I look forward to the next steps in the evolution of what will become a special place by the Ōtākaro/Avon River.”
Images of The Memorial Wall design and more information on the Memorial project can be found at www.ccdu.govt.nz.
More than 330 design ideas were submitted from around the world. The selection of The Memorial Wall design came after feedback from bereaved families, those injured in the quakes, first responders and other stakeholders and the wider public.
An Evaluation Panel of experts and a member of the bereaved families recommended the design to a Memorial Leadership Group of Ms Wagner, Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry, Ms Dalziel, and Tā Mark Solomon. The Leadership Group endorsed the recommendation to the Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery for his final decision.
The identity of the designers was withheld throughout the selection process so that feedback was given and decisions made without any bias.
Mr Vezjak will now work with a New Zealand-based design partner and bereaved families and other parties on evolving his design, by looking at features such as the reflective space, the tree selection and the arrangement of acknowledgements and memories on the wall.
It is expected the different elements of the Memorial will be completed in stages before an official dedication on 22 February 2017.