Every flower that floated down the Avon and Heathcote Rivers yesterday represented someone's personal reflections on the last year and their hopes for the future, says Evan Smith of the Avon-Otakaro Network (AvON).
Thousands of Cantabrians participated in the River of Flowers commemorative project yesterday, at 15 sites across Christchurch. Hosts from all the sites have said that the response from the community was tremendous.
"It was a great opportunity for local communities to feel part of something bigger. People from across our city had the chance to connect with each other, and share their experiences and hopes for the future," Evan says.
The Avon Loop Planning Association hosted the site at O-Tautahi - The Bricks on Barbadoes Street.
Association member Mike Moss says that if the other events across Christchurch were as successful and positive as The Bricks, they will have been very significant for thousands of people.
"We had a steady flow of people with around 250 gathering for the two minutes silence. All day there were flowers passing by from the Christchurch Hospital site," Mike says.
"Before the two minutes of silence I invited people to turn to their neighbour and talk of their hopes. What a buzz from the crowd. It was a very positive experience."
More than 300 people gathered at the Avondale Road Bridge site, which was jointly hosted by the Avondale Residents Association, Breezes Road Baptist Church and St Ambrose Anglican Church.
Bob Henderson, of the St Ambrose Anglican Church, says it was a fantastic event, which exceeded his expectations.
Some of the other feedback received from participants included:
"It was very simple, but very powerful and moving, just wonderful." Di, Avonside resident
"Very moving. When all the contractors drove up in their trucks on the other river bank and all got out and gathered as a group, that was a special moment…and when the Dragon Boat went by." Nicki, Riverside resident
"They were very upset but it was good for them to finally let it all go – they are now much the better for it." Jeff, father of two teenagers
Stories and pictures from each of the 15 sites will shortly be posted on the Healthy Christchurch website: www.healthychristchurch.org.nz. All of the messages of hope from the Hope Trees have been collected and will be provided to the CEISMIC Digital Archive http://www.ceismic.org.nz/. This is an archive of video, audio, documents and images related to the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010 and 2011.The River of Flowers was a community driven project that was led by Healthy Christchurch and the Avon-Otakaro Network (AvON). Healthy Christchurch is a group of around 200 organisations committed to working together to promote, protect and improve the health and wellbeing of the people of Christchurch.
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