New Zealanders pay tribute to Christchurch quake victims

13:34, March 18, 2011      

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A national memorial service was held in Christchurch's Hagley Park on Friday to pay tribute to the victims who died in the massive 6.3 magnitude earthquake on Feb. 22.

About 30,000 people are estimated to be at the park.

The National Anthem was sung and the dean of Christchurch Cathedral, Peter Beck, led the bidding prayer.

A two minutes' silence was observed at 12:51 p.m. local time, the exact time when the quake happened on Feb. 22 in the South Island city of Christchurch.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, along with a number of high level dignitaries from around the globe, including Prince William and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, attended the memorial service in Christchurch.

John Key paid tribute to the foreign nationals who lost their lives in Christchurch.

He said those who died had become part of the wider New Zealand community and would be forever remembered.

Key said the country has rallied magnificently in the aftermath of the quake.

Prince William conveyed the Queen's message of deep sympathy and condolence.

The service included offerings by representatives of various faiths including Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Christian and Baha'i.

People around New Zealand also join Cantabrians in a nationwide reflection and tribute to quake victims, with memorial services being held around the country.

Police now believe 182 people died in Christchurch's devastating earthquake but say it could take months for the last bodies to be identified.

Source: Xinhua

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