Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern makes moving speech at Christchurch earthquake anniversary service

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks at the seventh anniversary of the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks at the seventh anniversary of the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake. Photo credit: Christchurch City Council

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today paid tribute to the 185 people who died in the Christchurch earthquake, saying "we will keep their dreams alive." 

Today marks seven years since the devastating earthquake struck and the occasion was marked by memorial service. 

A minute's silence was observed and the names of all 185 victims were read out at the service at the Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial Oi Manawa.

Ms Ardern acknowledged emergency service staff, ministers, Christchurch City councillors, international diplomats and family and friends of the victims. 

"Today we mark seven years and the tragic loss of 185 lives."

"It struck me listening to the names...it signifies an entire life and a lost future, " Ms Ardern told the crowd. 

"No matter what we will never ever forget and we will keep their dreams alive." 

She said today also marked how much had changed in the city with a creative rebuild and a sense of how far the city has come. 

Earlier on Thursday the Prime Minister announced six staff members will work across 13 schools in east Christchurch and Hornby as a part of the first stage of a $28 million three-year programme to support quake effected children.

The programme aims to have a health worker for every 500 primary and intermediate-age school children in the region.

"Kids will be more easily be able to ask for help and someone will be there with the skills to do just that, be it a nurse, a psychologist, a psychiatrist, an occupational therapist or a counsellor," Ms Ardern said.

Since 2011, there has been a 73 percent increase in the number of children who need support for mental health issues in Christchurch.

Newshub.