Nation stops to remember Christchurch earthquake victims
Last updated 12:54 01/03/2011
The nation remembers those lost in last week's quake with two minutes' silence.
LATEST: The nation has marked the one-week anniversary of Christchurch's devastating earthquake with thousands gathering at churches and squares across the country.
The 6.3 magnitude quake struck at 12.51pm on February 22 and all around the country mourners have gathered at churches and town squares to mark the moment.
The death toll from the quake is likely to be around 240, police said today. The confirmed number of dead rose to 154 overnight.
The silence across the nation, including in some of the country's busiest workplaces, is as a sign of unity for the people of Christchurch and respect for those who lost their lives.
Mayor Bob Parker says today will be "massively emotional" as people stop to remember quake victims.
Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand, his wife Lady Satyanand, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English, church and faith representatives, MPs and overseas diplomats are all attending a ceremony on the steps of Parliament at 12.30 today, with members of the public invited to gather on the forecourt or lawn.
More than 5000 people gathered on the lawns of Parliament including MPs, office workers, school students and many others.
The bells of the Wellington Cathedral of St Paul will ring a half-muffled peal for 10 minutes.
A condolence book is available for members of the public to sign on Parliament's first floor foyer.
In Palmerston North, Mayor Jono Naylor and councillors will assemble outside All Saints' Church in Church St, where a bell will signal the beginning and end of the two minutes' silence. Mr Naylor will also give a brief address.
Whanganui Mayor Annette Main invited the public to join her, councillors and staff in the council chambers. A book of remembrance is available to sign at the council's customer services desk at 101 Guyton Street.
St John's Cathedral in Napier will hold a "service of solidarity" with Christchurch at 12.30pm, as will other Anglican cathedrals in New Zealand.
The Napier cathedral replaced one destroyed in the 1931 quake.
In Hastings, there will be a service at St Luke's Church in Havelock North at 12.30pm, ending with the two minutes' silence when the church bell will toll for each of the people who have died.
Two minutes' silence will be observed at the Cenotaph in Te Mata Road, Havelock North, at 12.45pm.
Taupo Mayor Rick Cooper invited the public to the Cenotaph on Tongariro St for the two minutes' silence.
Rotorua District Council will mark two minutes' silence at the Civic Centre on Hinemaru Street.
DEATH TOLL RISES
Canterbury area commander Superintendent Dave Cliff said the number of missing people was still fluctuating, but the total of those dead and missing was solidifying around the 240 figure.
"I think we need to start considering that the figure of around 240, but not locked in stone because we are still getting information in which is taking people off the list and sometimes adding others on..." he told reporters this morning.
The confirmed number of dead rose to 154 today. Mr Cliff said three bodies were retrieved from the Pyne Gould Corporation building overnight.