Christchurch marks 5 years since quake that killed 185

WELLINGTON, New Zealand - A service to commemorate the fifth anniversary of a deadly earthquake in the New Zealand city of Christchurch turned ugly Monday when someone threw goop over the government minister responsible for quake recovery efforts.

See Full Article

Hundreds of people attended the botanical gardens service in New Zealand's second-largest city to memorialize the magnitude-6.1 quake that killed 185 people on Feb 22, 2011.

As people chatted after the service ended, somebody tossed the unidentified goop from a plastic ice cream container over Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee, his spokesman confirmed.

Police said they arrested a 41-year-old man in connection with the incident and charged him with assault. Police said the man had left the service but was found a short time later.

Brownlee has proved a polarizing figure in the rebuilding of Christchurch. Many people frustrated at delays in collecting insurance or at the slow pace of the downtown reconstruction have blamed him.

Earlier in the day, Brownlee was heckled by a man during an outdoor radio interview: "You've done a bad job. A bad, bad job," the man yelled after first shouting an insult. On air, Brownlee laughed off the incident.

Brownlee's spokesman, Nick Bryant, said the lawmaker didn't wish to comment on the incident at the service because it had become a legal matter.

It's the second time this month that somebody has thrown something at a New Zealand lawmaker. On Feb. 6, a woman threw a pink toy penis at Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce to protest an international free trade deal.

Earlier during Monday's memorial service, speakers made the point that while there had been big progress since the quake, there was much left to be done.

"There is still some way to go until Christchurch is truly reborn," said Governor-General Jerry Mateparae.

Speakers also mentioned the disquiet they felt when the region was rattled again last week by an earthquake, one of the strongest since 2011. Last week's quake knocked items from shelves and triggered rock falls, but didn't cause major damage.

Emergency responders and officials representing more than a dozen foreign nations were among those who read out the names of each of the victims who died in the quake.

Mateparae said it changed the region forever.

"We recall the ordered streets and gracious buildings of a city renowned for its style and substance," he said. "We recall how, in an instant, that physical landscape was shattered. We recall how dust and the sound of sirens filled the air."

He said many people have faced exhaustion, stress, frustration and financial hardship in the years since, but that he hopes the end of that period is fast approaching and people can look at their city with renewed optimism and energy.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said there was an incredible opportunity to reimagine and reinvent the city.

"But we must acknowledge there are still many people who have unanswered questions," she said. "People with unresolved insurance claims, people who are still living in the houses that were damaged five years ago. None of them with any certainty of when they will find closure."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Terror in Spain: Multiple fatalities after van plows pedestrians in Barcelona [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    BARCELONA, Spain — A white van jumped the sidewalk Thursday in Barcelona’s historic Las Ramblas district, crashing into a summer crowd of residents and tourists and injuring several people, police said. In a photograph shown by public broadcaster RTVE, three people were lying on the ground in the street of the northern Spanish city Thursday afternoon, apparently being helped by police and others. Source
  • Video shows men standing between subway cars in Montreal

    Canada News CTV News
    Police in Montreal say they are aware of a video that shows two men standing between subway cars as the train pulls out of a Metro station. The two individuals can be seen standing on the metal coupler that links two Metro cars, in a video that has racked up more than 70,000 views online. Source
  • Pikangikum First Nation to be connected to Ontario power grid by next fall

    Canada News CTV News
    THUNDER BAY, Ont. -- The federal government has announced funding to connect the Pikangikum First Nation in northwestern Ontario to the province's power grid. The remote community near the Ontario-Manitoba border currently relies on diesel generators for electricity. Source
  • After 3 years in ISIS captivity, Yazidi boy reunites with mom in Winnipeg

    Canada News CTV News
    Nofa Zaghla weeps with emotion as she hugs her 12-year-old son in a cramped room at the Winnipeg airport in the early hours of Thursday morning. Surrounded by tearful family and friends, a smiling Emad Mishko Tamo is being held by his mother for the first time in three years. Source
  • Ontario reviewing outdoor education policies after student dies on field trip

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Ontario is launching a review of outdoor education policies for every school board in the province after the death of a Toronto teen on a school-run canoe trip this summer. Education Minister Mitzie Hunter also says the ministry will immediately increase funding to life-saving swimming programs and increase awareness about the programs for incoming Canadian residents. Source
  • Canadian schools reluctant to embrace later bell times despite mounting research

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- A wave of international research suggesting delaying high school start times would have health and academic benefits for students has not yet crested in Canada. Several individual boards and schools have embraced the growing number of global studies suggesting that early start times are at odds with adolescents' natural sleep patterns and can hamper both their academic progress and mental health. Source
  • Number of asylum seekers crossing Quebec border nearly quadrupled in July [Video]

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    LACOLLE, Que. — Authorities say the number of asylum seekers intercepted at the Quebec-New York border in July nearly quadrupled and shows no sign of slowing down. Immigration and Citizenship Canada said today the number jumped to 2,996 from 781 in June. Source
  • Constipated gorilla in Kansas zoo recovering after surgery

    World News Toronto Sun
    TOPEKA, Kan. — A constipated 49-year-old lowland gorilla at the Topeka Zoo in Kansas is recovering after having surgery. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that zoo Director Brendan Wiley says the procedure that Tiffany underwent Wednesday went “really well. Source
  • Multiple deaths after van driven into Barcelona crowd in apparent terror attack

    World News CBC News
    Spanish police have confirmed there are fatalities after a van slammed into pedestrians in Barcelona's historic Las Ramblas district. The newspaper El Pais quoted unnamed police sources as saying it was being treated as a terror attack and that the perpetrators of the crash were holed up in a bar in Tallers Street. Source
  • Calls for Conservative leader Andrew Scheer to condemn The Rebel Media [Video]

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer isn’t saying whether he’ll condemn online news outlet the Rebel for its coverage of last weekend’s deadly Charlottesville protests. In a video posted to Facebook by advocacy group Leadnow, Scheer would only say he saw some of the Rebel’s coverage, and that anything that gives a platform to what he calls “obnoxious groups” is worth condemnation. Source