Families of Christchurch earthquake victims receive formal apology from Mayor

After nine long years, families who lost loved ones in Christchurch's devastating earthquake have received a heartfelt apology from Mayor Lianne Dalziel.

It comes just a day after the anniversary of the February 2011 quake. But for some families, the fight isn't over.

It's a message that families travelled across New Zealand - and overseas - to hear.

Dalziel made a formal apology to those who lost loved ones or were seriously injured in the 2011 earthquake as a result of building collapses or falling masonry.

"Really what she's apologising for is the failings in the Council, which are to do with the processes of checking and stopping bad designs reaching into the public area, and the consequences of that," says David Selway, the brother of a quake victim.

The apology was made in private, behind closed doors. In a letter to families Dalziel said: "I have wanted to make this formal apology for a long time. I am acutely aware of the time it has taken to get to this point."

The family of tattoo artist Matti McEachen - who was killed by falling masonry - welcomed her honesty.

"I think she addressed the issues of all 185 people that died, and the wider people in Christchurch that also had some significant effects. No she did a very very good job," father Bruce McEachen told Newshub.

Families say emotions were raw inside the meeting as it brought back memories from nine years ago, including the collapse of the CTV building.

"For many hours, for the whole night we stayed there and hoped that people would survive," Selway says.

"But tragically it was catastrophic. It truly was a complete collapse of that building. And it shouldn't have happened. It should have been like that."

Campaigner Maan Alkaisi believes the apology was the right thing to do.

"But justice and accountability and closure is another chapter that we're fighting for," he says.

Changes in new building standards and council processes are aimed at helping prevent a repeat of this kind of tragedy.