At this moment two years ago, Christchurch was thrown into chaos. This was one of the most vivid images that we remember.
Two years on much has changed. Demolition cranes are now strongly outnumbered by construction cranes. New buildings are going up everywhere in the Christchurch CBD. There's still the occasional aftershock, but the horror of 22 February 2011 is gradually receding.
That's not to say that everything in Christchurch is sweetness and light; patently, it's not. Nor could it ever be with damage of this scale. But the Wellness Survey conducted by CERA recently suggests that most Christchurch residents have reached a turning point.
There are still many challenges ahead for Christchurch, for the Christchurch City Council, for residents, and for the Government. Investment in Christchurch by the Government is huge; somewhere in the region now of $30 billion. That is a cost that is willingly borne.
As we have noted previously, a new and vibrant Christchurch is going to rise from the dust and rubble of February 2011. We visit Christchurch on a semi-regular basis, and it is great to see the progress each time we are down there. Christchurch's economy is starting to fire as the rebuild gathers momentum.
Today is an important day as people remember the day that so many lives were changed. She Who Must Be Obeyed and ourselves knew four people who were killed in the earthquake, and today we offer our thoughts and prayers for their whanau, and for all who mourn and remember today.
Then tomorrow, the people of Christchurch will get on with what they do best; getting on with life. The resilience of Christchurch folk has been amazing, but their reward will be an exciting and modern city; the envy of the world.
Kia kaha Christchurch.