13 October 2011
Bereaved Families Acknowledged at Opening of Quake Royal Commission Hearings
New Zealand and international bereaved families will be acknowledged at the opening of the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission hearings beginning Monday 17 October 2011 at St Teresa’s church hall on the corner of Puriri Street and Riccarton Road in Riccarton, Christchurch.
At 2.30pm Commission chairperson Justice Mark Cooper will deliver a welcoming address in English and Maori. Immediately afterwards community volunteers who have supported the New Zealand Police, Coroner's Office and Commission by interacting with international bereaved families, will take turns delivering Justice Cooper’s welcome in the nine languages spoken by the 182 people who died in the 22 February Canterbury earthquake.
They will speak in descending order, starting with countries that suffered the greatest loss of life—Japan (Japanese), China (Mandarin), Thailand (Thai), The Philippines (Tagalog), South Korea (Korean), Israel (Hebrew), Taiwan (Taiwanese), Malaysia (Malay) and Turkey (Turkish).
Marcus Elliott, Counsel Assisting with a special focus on bereaved families and injured people, will read the names of the 182 earthquake victims followed by two minutes silence.
Earlier in the day starting at 1pm the Commission will be welcomed to the venue by Reverend Gray of Ngai Tahu and Father Antoine Thomas of St Teresa's church. The St Teresa's school Kapa Haka group will also deliver a hymn and the choir will sing an Irish blessing.
The public are welcome to attend the opening which will also be live streamed on canterbury-hearings.royalcommission.govt.nz
A table and notice board has been set up in the room adjoining the hearings room dedicated to the memory of those who died. This has been decorated with flowers by the school children of St Teresa's. They have also written messages to the families, most of which have been translated.
About the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission
The Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission in Christchurch was established in response to the building failure and loss of life caused by the Canterbury earthquake in February 2011.
The purpose of the Commission is to examine issues around the built environment in the Christchurch central business district and to inquire into the adequacy of relevant building codes and standards into the future.
The Commission is required to provide the Governor-General with a final report by no later than April 2012.
For Further Information:
Senior Communications Advisor
Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission
Ph + 64 (0)3 741 3004 or + 64 (0)21 621 656