The resilience of Christchurch's residents in the wake of the devastating earthquake has been noted by United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a message on the first anniversary of the disaster.
Mrs Clinton, in a video message screened at a memorial service in Hagley Park, says she was stunned at the devastation of the city she had visited only a few months earlier.
"I was shocked to learn and then see the scope of the damage. So many lives lost, so many homes and businesses destroyed."
A US search and rescue team and equipment were sent in the immediate aftermath of the quake.
"After all, that is what friends are for," said Mrs Clinton.
She vowed that the US would continue to provide assistance as the city recovered.
"Even those of us who were far away on that terrible day share in your grief, and we know it's been a struggle, but through that struggle we've seen the strength and perseverance of the people of Christchurch.
"We grieve with you, and we think about you all the time ... we will continue to support you," she said.