Oi Manawa – Canterbury Earthquake Memorial

Oi Manawa – the Canterbury Earthquake Memorial Project was delivered by Ōtākaro in partnership with the Christchurch City Council, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. The memorial provides a place to reflect on the events that changed Canterbury forever, paying respect to the 185 people who lost their lives on 22 February 2011 and those who were severely injured.

Oi Manawa comprises a reflective space on the North Bank of the river and the Memorial Wall on the South Bank. The Building Intelligence Group was engaged to steer the international ‘Call for Ideas to Remember’ design process and to facilitate the design evaluation. The Call for Ideas design competition was completely anonymous and more than 330 designs from 37 countries were received. In May 2015, the Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery, Hon Gerry Brownlee announced The Memorial Wall by Slovenian architect Grega Vezjak as the selected design for the Canterbury Earthquake Memorial.

TBIG was honoured to be a part of the journey – from the design competition through to the construction management of the project. Byron Roff, Business Manager for The Building Intelligence Group comments “This is as much about the journey as it is the outcome. It’s an honour to be involved in such an important symbol of community resilience and to be working with so many courageous people.”

The Memorial Wall, made of stone and inscribed with the names of those who died, creates a place of rememberance, located on the banks of Ōtākaro / Avon River, between Montreal Street and Rhododendron Island. The Memorial wall is 112 metres long and is made up of 517 marble panels inscribed with the names of the 185 people who lost their lives. A 265 kg pounamu installation has been placed at the entrance to the Memorial Wall.

Oi Manawa was unveiled on 22 February 2017, on the sixth anniversary of the 2011 earthquake.The Canterbury Earthquake Memorial is “a place to greive, but also a place to hope” said Prime Minister Bill English who addressed the thousands of people who gathered at the unveiling of Oi Manawa.