New Zealand Embassy Beijing, China
Christchurch earthquake memorial ceremony held at the New Zealand Embassy, Beijing
On 22 March 2011, a memorial ceremony was held at the New Zealand Embassy for victims of the Christchurch Earthquake. Members of the New Zealand community in Beijing were joined by representatives of Chinese Government departments and organisations, all of whom had provided assistance in the wake of the earthquake. This included members of the Chinese Urban Search and Rescue Team (USAR), who were deployed in Christchurch after the disaster. Representatives of the diplomatic community whose nationals were amongst the victims also attended, as well as a strong contingent from the Pacific missions.
The ceremony featured addresses by HE Carl Worker, New Zealand Ambassador to China; Mr David Mahon; former Chinese Ambassador to New Zealand, Ambassador Zhang Limin; and a reading by Sophie McKinnon whose family has strong Christchurch connections (and whose dad John happened to be attending the NZ-US partnership forum in Christchurch when the earthquake struck). Waiata were sung by Ngati Aorere Beijing. The gathering observed two minutes' silence at the end of ceremony, which ended with Amazing Grace played on the bagpipes by Police Counsellor Hamish McCardle.
This was a solemn occasion, providing an opportunity for the New Zealand community in Beijing to remember those at home affected by the earthquake. The ceremony also reflected on the international dimension of the tragedy, both in terms of the lives lost in the earthquake and the assistance provided by China and other partners in the weeks afterwards.