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Cathedral Square focus for tsunami Memorial Day in Christchurch

14 January 2005

The bells of Christ Church Cathedral will ring out across the city this Sunday at 1.58pm, falling silent at 1.59pm to signal the start of the nationwide minute of silence for the victims of the Asian earthquake and tsunami.

As part of New Zealand’s Memorial Day, Cathedral Square is the setting for a special
inter-faith service at 1.15pm for people of all faiths and cultures. It will give the people of Christchurch the opportunity to remember both those who died and those who survived. More than 160,000 people lost their lives in the disaster, and this will be reflected in the service by the involvement of representatives from the cultures and communities worst affected.

The gathering in the Square will include opportunities for everyone to express their sorrow and support. The service will include prayers in several languages, as well as a time for open prayer, whether silent or out loud. It will conclude at 2pm with the opportunity for people to lay wreaths, flowers or other small items in memory of those affected by the tsunami around the Square’s 18 metre-high Chalice sculpture.

The service will be opened by Christchurch City Councillor Graham Condon and Dean of the Cathedral Peter Beck, followed by religious leaders from the Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and Christian communities. Traditional Indonesian dance will be performed before the service, and local children representing the multicultural face of the city will read poetry. The service will be introduced by Robin Bickley.

Christchurch City Council SummerTimes’ Press Kite Day will also observe the minute's silence on Sunday. ZM’s broadcast will be relayed, at which time all kites must be down. The Surf Lifesaving Championships to the north of the Pier will also observe the minute of silence by ensuring all competitors (10 teams) are out of the water in respect for the victims of the tsunami.

Christchurch will end its observation of the Memorial Day with a special memorial service at Christ Church Cathedral at 7pm for “people of all faiths and none.”

Christchurch City Council is accepting cash donations for tsunami victims on behalf of the Red Cross throughout January at its Civic Offices in Tuam Street and at Council Service Centres at Beckenham, Fendalton, Linwood, Papanui, Riccarton, Shirley and Sockburn. Opening hours vary but all locations are open weekdays from 9am to 5pm.

· In the event of wet weather, the service will be held inside Christchurch Cathedral.

· Parking restrictions will be in force in the immediate area around the Cathedral. Christchurch City Council recommends that people planning to attend the service use public transport or take advantage of the special one hour of free parking at Lichfield Street, The Crossing, Farmers, Oxford Terrace, Kilmore Street and Tuam Street car parks.

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