Communities around Christchurch have embraced the River of Flowers commemorative project, says Healthy Christchurch Chairperson Evon Currie.
"Avondale Residents' threw flowers into the Avon River to mark the first anniversary of the 4 September earthquake, and for the 22 February anniversary this gesture will be repeated by fifteen communities across Christchurch," says Evon.
As part of commemorations for the first anniversary of the 22 February earthquake, fifteen community-hosted sites will be available for people to drop a flower into a river and write a message of hope on a hope tree. 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.
Evon believes that a defining feature of the River of Flowers is that it is driven by each local community.
"The location of each site has been determined by the communities of Christchurch. Each site provides an important opportunity for communities to be together, to remember, and to look to the future," says Evon.
The Mental Health Foundation, a Healthy Christchurch Signatory, see the River of Flowers project as an important way for communities to demonstrate solidarity and connectedness.
"Research has shown that taking the time to write about your feelings makes it easier to open up to friends and family, and can help to improve mood," says Mental Health Foundation Chief Executive Judi Clements.
"Projects like the River of Flowers encourage us all to take notice and be in the moment, which is one of the five winning ways to wellbeing that we've been promoting over the past six months. Other ways include connecting with others, learning, being active and giving, and there are elements of all these in this commemorative project," says Judi.
An important aspect of the River of Flowers will be the availability of Red Cross volunteers at each site between 12.30-1.30pm to offer support if required.
List of Confirmed Sites
Cantabrian's will be able to participate at the following River of Flowers sites between 8am and 8pm:
1. Avondale Road Bridge (Avonside Drive)
2. Riverbank opposite Avonside Girls' High School
3. Beckenham Park Cricket Pavilion
4. Botanic Gardens Commemorative Garden (near Peace Bell).
Between 10am - 11.30am there will be a Festival of Flowers event honouring those who lost their lives. Activities will include live music, Taiko drummers, and the unveiling of a Golden Angel.
Between 12.30- 1.30pm the site will be hosted by Canterbury District Health Board.
5. Bexley Reserve (Corner Morganwood and Wairoa Streets)
6. Christchurch Yacht Club Car Park (Moncks Bay)
7. Gayhurst Road Bridge (Avonside Drive)
8. Medway Street Footbridge (River Road)
9. New Brighton's Owles Terrace Reserve and Riverbank (south of the Admirals Way boat ramp)
10. O-Tautahi - The Bricks (Barbadoes Street Bridge)
11. Riverbank opposite The Princess Margaret Hospital
12. Radley Park in Woolston (near the south end of the Catherine Street Footbridge)
13. Riccarton Bush (between Kahu Road and Riccarton House)
14. Riverbank opposite Wainoni Primary School (Eureka Street )
15. Wainoni Methodist Church (opposite Porritt Park, 12.30pm – 1.30pm only).
Includes lighting of initialled candles at the Church for those who lost their lives and a lone piper playing Amazing Grace.
In addition to these fifteen sites Healthy Christchurch Signatory, the Council of Social Services, will be hosting a site in Latimer Square where people will be able to write a message on a Tree of Hope and release balloons following the 2minutes of silence.
People are asked to bring their own flowers and notes to tie onto the Trees of Hope.
For more information on these sites, and on other activities that have been organised to commemorate the first anniversary of the 22 February 2011, go to www.healthychristchurch.org.nz
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