A new and vibrant Christchurch garden city can be rebuilt, despite the painful memories of the devastation of last year's February 22 earthquake, says Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae.
Addressing the first anniversary memorial service of the disaster in Christchurch on Wednesday, Sir Jerry said people would never forget that lives were tragically cut short, families were ripped apart, and thousands of homes and buildings were destroyed beyond repair.
"The ripples of that disaster stretched around the world - people in far-flung lands lost loved ones and grieve too because they never returned."
PHOTOS: The Civic Memorial Service
At 12.51pm, the time the 6.3-magnitude quake struck last year, 185 monarch butterflies were released, one for each of the victims.
Sir Jerry said the butterflies also symbolised a new beginning.
"While we remember what occurred, and the grief of those most closely affected, today marks the start of a new day and a new beginning for all of us.
"A new and vibrant city can arise. It will be a city and region inhabited by a resilient people and built on the foundations of a strong community."
The community had been repeatedly tested and not found wanting, he said.
People were committed to a strong and vibrant future for the generations to come in Christchurch and Canterbury.
"It will be achieved because the people of Christchurch and Canterbury have repeatedly demonstrated their resilience and preparedness to get stuck in and help friends and strangers alike.
"Your extended family - the New Zealand family - are walking alongside you.
"Together we will build a stronger and better Christchurch. Together we will see it reclaim its status and character here on the plains of Canterbury, beneath the Port Hills, as a vibrant garden city.
"A proud and prosperous city will stand here again."