Japanese visit Christchurch for first time since quake killed their family members

A large contingent of Japanese visitors are in Christchurch today, marking six years since the region was devastated by a massive afternoon earthquake that killed 185 people.

The Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial, on the banks of the Avon River, is ready for its official unveiling. Source: 1 NEWS

The power of the magnitude 6.3 quake that struck at 12.51pm on Tuesday February 22, 2011 caused widespread damage across Christchurch, especially in the central city and eastern suburbs.

Today, many Japanese families will visit for the first time as part of the unveiling of a new wall memorial bearing all 185 names. Twenty eight language students died when the CTV building collapsed.

The earthquake was centred two kilometres west of the port of Lyttelton, and 10 kilometres south-east of the centre of Christchurch.

It struck nearly six months after the magnitude 7.1 Canterbury earthquake of September 4, 2010. That quake caused significant damage to Christchurch and the central Canterbury region, but no direct fatalities.