NZ quake service ‘grandiose empty gesture’

Posted on: February 3rd, 2019 by
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Julia Gillard is jetting in for it, Prince William will speak on behalf of the Queen and New Zealand’s top stars will belt out emotional ballads.


The question remains, however, will Christchurch residents show up for the grand-scaled memorial organised in their honour?

The event on Friday, a regional public holiday, is designed to help locals grieve the loss of the estimated 182 people who died when the violent 6.3-magnitude quake struck three weeks ago.

Officials have estimated up to 100,000 people could show up for the two-hour event, which includes tributes, prayers, songs, speeches and the laying of floral wreaths.

But the local media say “great chunks” of the city’s inhabitants will boycott it, as they feel it has been organised without their say and far too soon, before the final death toll has even been


“Just who is this memorial service for? It’s not for Christchurch. It’s not for the families who lost loved ones in the February 22 quake,” a prominent blogger from the local Press

newspaper wrote on Thursday.

“It’s a grandiose, empty gesture starring so-called VIPs – Prince William, Prime Minister John Key, Aussie PM Julia Gillard, (opposition leader) Tony Abbott and presumably other assorted

boring people in suits.”

On top of this, hundreds of families have opted to leave town for the long weekend in an exodus fuelled by a prediction of another big earthquake on Sunday.

The highly publicised prophecy by quirky Kiwi weather oracle Ken Ring has been dismissed as lunacy by most.

To thumb their nose, a group of earthquake experts, politicians and sceptics plan to mark the “non-event” with a lunch in one of the city’s oldest, tallest buildings.

But many have believed him and heeded his warning to “get out of town”, keen to avoid a repeat of February’s shocking jolt.

As one organiser told AAP whether the people show up or not “is anyone’s guess”.

“With so much grief and so much work still to do in our city, and this crazy talk of another quake, it’s impossible to guess what way people will go.”

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