River of Flowers Commemorative Project

Monday February 13, 2012

Opportunities to remember 22 February 2011 continue to grow, with nine sites now confirmed as part of the River of Flowers commemorative project.
The River of Flowers is community driven project that will allow people to commemorate the anniversary of the February 22nd 2011 earthquake at designated sites along Canterbury’s waterways. The project is being led by Healthy Christchurch and the Avon-Otakaro Network (AvON).
The River of Flowers will provide an all-day opportunity for people to drop a flower into a river and write a message of hope on a hope tree at the designated sites. Dropping flowers into a river symbolises ‘letting go’, and the tree of hope represents ‘looking to the future’. At 12.51pm there will be two minutes of silence followed by the release of balloons to remember those who died, were injured, or who lost their homes.
Each site is being hosted by a local community organisation, and over the next week more locations will be confirmed (go to www.healthychristchurch.org.nz for the most up to date list). Confirmed sites so far include:
  • Avondale Road Bridge and SW river bank on Avonside Drive (Avondale Residents Association)
  • Avonside Drive/Retreat Road, Gayhurst Road Bridge (Avonside Community Group)
  • Avon River bank opposite Avonside Girls High School  (Avonside Girls High School)
  • Bexley Reserve, Corner Morganwood and Wairoa Streets (Bexley Residents Association)
  • Botanic Gardens Commemorative Garden - near Peace Bell (Christchurch Garden City Trust)
  • Christchurch Yacht Club, Moncks Bay (Christchurch Yacht Club)
  • Medway Street Foot Bridge, SW bank on River Road (Riverside Community Goup)
  • Methodist Church opposite Porritt Park, 878 Avonside Drive (Wainoni/Avonside Community Services Trust)
  • O-Tautahi - The Bricks, Barbadoes Street Bridge and diagonal adjoining riverbanks (Avon Loop Planning Association)
Community and Public Health General Manager, Evon Currie, says that the River of Flowers is a community driven, grass roots project that will help bring people together.
“The River of Flowers will provide an opportunity for communities to be together at a local place, to commemorate, and to look to the future. It complements the official events at Latimer Square and Hagley Park, and gives people a choice about how they want to observe the anniversary,” says Evon. 
Evon says that a poll held late last year on how Cantabrian’s wanted to commemorate the first anniversary of February 22nd 2011 showed that having local community events was important. The poll show that while many people wanted an official event at Hagley Park, a significant number wanted to be able to attend a local event to observe the anniversary.
Evan Smith from the Avon-Otakaro Network (AvON) says that the River of Flowers acknowledges the importance of rivers and waterways in the life and heritage of our city, and the important role they play in connecting communities in Christchurch. 
“We have a grand vision to turn the Avon River Red Zone lands into an ecological and recreational reserve from city to sea.  For those of us having to leave these lands, creating a beautiful river park would be a fitting memorial to those who lost their lives and their family homes in the quakes.  The River of Flowers events on 22 February are the first step in realising this dream,” says Evan Smith, spokesperson for Avon-Otakaro Network.
The project is supported by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) Wellbeing Team, Canterbury Community Earthquake Recovery Network (CanCERN), Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB), Mental Health Foundation (MHF), One Voice Te Reo Kotahi, Council of Social Services (COSS) and Sustainable Otautahi Christchurch (SOC).
For the most up to date list of sites, and for information on other activities that have been organised to commemorate the first anniversary of the 22 February 2011, go to www.healthychristchurch.org.nz
Page last reviewed: 24 July 2013