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

  • Jail for man who bit off part of fellow mourner's nose at drunken wake

    Canada News CTV News
    PICTOU, N.S. -- A Nova Scotia man convicted of biting off part of a fellow mourner's nose in a drunken brawl at a wake has been sentenced to six months in jail. Randall Edwin MacLean was convicted of aggravated assault last October. Source
  • 'A feral cat is better off dead'; Hunter blasted over his war on felines

    World News Toronto Sun
    Sam Wood has been a proponent of hunting and killing invasive species, such as wild hogs, that can threaten the native ecosystems for years. His Facebook page is filled with photos showing the 48-year-old outdoorsman taking down sparrows and starlings, pigeons and rats. Source
  • Zoo: Live video of giraffe giving birth was labelled explicit

    World News Toronto Sun
    HARPURSVILLE, N.Y. - The owner of a New York zoo planning to live-stream a giraffe giving birth says the video feed was briefly removed from YouTube because animal rights activists labelled it sexually explicit. Animal Adventure Park started streaming video Wednesday of 15-year-old April in her enclosed pen at the zoo in Harpursville, 130 miles northwest of New York City. Source
  • South Korea blasting news of Kim Jong Nam's death across border

    World News Toronto Sun
    Hey, North Korea, have you heard the news? In case anyone from Kim Jong Un’s hermit nation hasn’t heard that Kim Jong Nam, the exiled half-brother of the despot, had been whacked, South Korea is making sure the news travels north. Source
  • Off-duty LAPD officer's fight with teens sets off protests

    World News CTV News
    ANAHEIM, Calif. -- An off-duty California officer who didn't want teens walking across his lawn fired his gun during a struggle with a 13-year-old boy and other youths, igniting unruly protests after video of the fight surfaced and two boys were arrested. Source
  • Conservative activist James O'Keefe has tapes accusing CNN of misrepresenting polling data

    World News Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK - Conservative activist James O’Keefe has released what he says are 119 hours of raw audio secretly recorded inside CNN’s Atlanta headquarters in 2009. The audio was recorded by what O’Keefe’s website, Project Veritas, describes as an anonymous source identified only as “Miss X. Source
  • Two-storey playhouse on the line in Calgary dad's bylaw appeal

    Canada News CTV News
    A Calgary father is worried he'll be forced to tear down a $5,000 play structure he built for his kids, less than a year after the city assured him it would be OK to build it. Source
  • Australian man jailed after beating kangaroo to death

    World News Toronto Sun
    Beating a kangaroo to death with a metal pole will cost one Australian man nearly a year of freedom. Craig House was jailed for 11 months after pleading guilty to the disgusting attack, even though he wasn’t the one to bash the ‘roo, according to Metro U.K. Source
  • Malaysia: North Korea embassy should assist about death of leader's exiled half brother Kim Jong Nam [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - Malaysia’s police chief said Thursday investigators want to question a North Korean embassy official about the death of the exiled half brother of Pyongyang’s leader, saying he should co-operate if he has nothing to hide despite having diplomatic immunity. Source
  • Toronto police probing alleged anti-Muslim protest outside mosque

    Canada News CTV News
    Toronto police say they're investigating a complaint about a small anti-Muslim protest held outside a city mosque last week. Constable Jenifferjit Sidhu says police received a complaint this week about the incident, which took place last Friday. Source