Thursday, March 1, 2012

February 22 earthquake memorial KNS assembly speech

We are here today one year on to remember an event that was significant in all of our lives and of our community - the February 22nd 2011 earthquake.

By meeting here today we are showing respect to the 185 lives that were lost in Christchurch a year ago. Secondly we are showing that as a community we are thinking about those people who were injured on this day, and of the many buildings that have been lost to us forever. And thirdly we are thinking about our own experiences and that of our Kaiapoi community, in particular the challenges we have been through and are still going through.

One year ago today we were eating our lunch when the earthquake hit. We need to remember what a tremendous job we did to keep each other safe. We all knew what to do, we got under desks, under doorways or crouched as a turtle. Once the shaking stopped we moved outside together to be in an open space and make sure everyone was accounted for. We then waited together for our parents, grandparents or friends of the family to collect us. We need to remember the great job we did to keep each other safe and I thank our staff for their superb care of our children on that day and the support you have given moving forward.

Following the February 22nd earthquake we had many families from Christchurch move into our community, some for just a few days, some for a few weeks, and some we still have in our community. As a school we showed arohanui towards these families as new children came into our school - you all did a great job welcoming these children and families to our school. The children who came to our school did so bravely and have made friends in a short period of time that will last forever.

We are going to have a minutes silence together shortly. During this time we will stand in silence as a school to show respect for those who died in last year's earthquake. At the same time we will be acknowledging the amazing work of the emergency services such as civil defence, fire service, the police and the St Johns ambulance who all set aside their personal safety to help others in need.

The silence will be broken by the national anthem which we will sing together to show how proud we are to be living in Kaiapoi, in Canterbury and how proud to be a New Zealander.