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UC unveils sculpture, dedicates pathway on quake anniversary

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On the seventh anniversary of the 22 February earthquake, the University of Canterbury dedicated the Unicycle pathway along University Drive as a commemorative pathway to acknowledge the courage and contribution of the University community, and the losses and injuries sustained by students, staff, alumni and friends of the University in the 2010-2011 Canterbury earthquakes.

As part of this dedication, a specially commissioned sculpture, Roimata, was unveiled at the Clyde Road end of the Unicycle pathway. It has been designed for UC by Māori artist Riki Manuel.

Speaking at the unveiling ceremony, Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said the UC Student Volunteer Army was an example of extraordinary generosity.

SVA founder Sam Johnson and former UCSA President Erin Jackson also spoke at the event. Sam said he was often asked if there would be an SVA without the earthquakes and mentioned the thousands of primary school children who took part in SVA voluntary work across New Zealand last year. He praised the ongoing momentum and strength of the current SVA and noted that the SVA is now the largest student club at the University of Canterbury.

The sculpture Roimata tells a story of remembrance, and depicts a community ritual that has emerged from a tragedy that is now an inherent part of the heritage of Christchurch. The sculpture depicts a koru facing down, as it represents a life taken before fully grown. The undulating surface is rippled, to represent the river Ōtākaro Avon, and a scattering of brass roses, cherry blossoms and daffodils on top represent the flowers that the people of Ōtautahi Christchurch throw into the river each year on 22 February, in remembrance.

After the unveiling UC staff, students and guests were invited to throw flowers onto the river to flow into the city in time for the formal remembrance service at the National Earthquake Memorial in central Christchurch.

Read Rev. Josh (Spanky) Moore’s prayer>

Be proud of this special place says Mayor>

22 February earthquake – prayer at UC dedication service

Rev. Josh (Spanky) Moore offered the following prayer at the service dedication of the Commemorative Pathway and Roimata sculpture.
God our Father, today we remember the lives of the 185 people who died on this day seven years ago. People from New Zealand, Japan, China, the Philippines, Thailand, Israel, South Korea, Canada, Ireland, Malaysia, Peru, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Taiwan, Turkey and the United States.
We pray for their family and friends, that they may know the comfort of your love.
Lord, hear our prayers – and wipe away our tears.
We also remember those who were injured or left with permanent injury after the earthquakes.  May they know that neither we nor you have forgotten them – and give them a sense of purpose and tenacity as they continue to live rich lives, despite their scars – be them seen or unseen.
Lord, hear our prayers – and wipe away our tears.
Loving God,
Today in particular we acknowledge the deep loss experienced by this University due to the earthquake. But we also offer thanks for the creative contribution the this place has made over the past seven years: thank you for the Student Volunteer Army. Thank you for the researchers who have helped us to better under stand natural disasters. And thank you for the role this University has played in rebuilding a city of hope, or justice, and of peace.   
Lord, hear our prayers – and wipe away our tears.
And dear God,
As we dedicate this memorial cycle way, and unveil this Roimata sculpture – help us to never forget the events of this day in 2011. May we find time for pleasure as we ride this trail and reflect on the future, but may this sculpture help us to not forget the pain and loss of the past.
Lord, hear our prayers – and wipe away our tears.
And so I invite us to hold a moment of silence as we remember those who died and the events of this day 7 years ago.

 I nga wa o te pouri, o te marama,
o te raru, o te hari,

a mai matou, e te Matua i te rangi, kia manako ki tou aroha,
kia mahi i au mahi, kia whakapai i tou ingoa, 
Ake ake ake, Amine.
(Translation: In darkness and in light,
in trouble and in joy,
help us, heavenly Father, to trust your love,
to serve your purpose, and to praise your name, Amen)