Irish President visits Christchurch Earthquake Memorial

Author
Lesley Deverall,
Publish Date
Thu, 26 Oct 2017, 5:49PM
Michael D. Higgins lays a wreath at the ceremony. Photo/Christchurch Council
Michael D. Higgins lays a wreath at the ceremony. Photo/Christchurch Council

Irish President visits Christchurch Earthquake Memorial

Author
Lesley Deverall,
Publish Date
Thu, 26 Oct 2017, 5:49PM

The President of Ireland has paid tribute to the victims of the 2011 earthquake.

Michael D. Higgins is touring New Zealand this week and today made a stopover in Christchurch.

While there, he laid a wreath at National Earthquake Memorial.

Afterwards, he met the widows of John Joseph O'Connor and Owen McKenna., two Irishmen who died in the quake.

Irish ex-pats gathered on the banks of the Avon River to witness the President's visit and the moment of silence at the memorial wall.

Laura Campbell brought her three sons along, all dressed in green.

"They do still have a lot of memories and we have a lot of Irish family come visit us here in Christchurch. They are very aware of their Irishness."

Her son, primary school student Luca, was born in Dublin and met the President today.

He says it was nice to hear so many Irish accents, because at school his voice sticks out.

"Sometimes they don't even know what I'm saying because of my accent."

He said that despite that difficulty he is very proud of his heritage - particularly the Irish sense of humour.

Tonight there will be an Irish Community Reception at the Great Hall.