Nation to remember the 185 who died 10 years ago in Christchurch earthquake

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will lead tributes today for the 185 who lost their lives 10 years ago in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

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The 6.3 magnitude quake struck at 12.51pm on February 22, 2011, killing 185 people. Source: Breakfast

First responders and community members will read each of their names at a memorial service held in the heart of the city at the Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial.

A minute's silence will be observed at 12.51pm which marks a decade precisely since the devastating quake.

The memorial is designed to remember the lost, hailing from 20 countries.

But in the days leading up to the commemoration, stories of resilience and recovery are also coming to the fore.

Speaking to Christchurch newspaper The Press, Mairehe Tankersley remembered her experience falling from the fifth storey of the CTV Building in downtown Christchurch.

A couple visit the Christchurch Earthquake National Memorial Wall. Source: Getty

More than 100 people lost their lives in that structure but not Tankersley or her daughter Te Aowharepapa, who was eight months old.

Tankersley held her infant as the pair fell through the crumpling building's wreckage and rubble and onto the street.

Tankersely suffered broken ribs and major bruising, as well as trauma that remains to this day.

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She has suffered insomnia and horrific visions of death but also describes the hope her daughter brings.

"That's the enduring thing. Every day I have this beautiful soul in my life," she said.

"She is the light of my life. Even on hard days I think about that the most. I am so grateful to be here."

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With so many properties and livelihoods ruined, many left Christchurch in the aftermath of the earthquake.

It was not until 2017, six years after the earthquake, that the population returned to pre-quake levels.

The physical recovery is also slow.

A report released last week showed nearly a fifth of central city land was vacant, leaving a gap in the heart of South Island's biggest metropolis.

The Earthquake Commission, the primary recovery agency, is a byword for incompetence around Canterbury and stories of those battling for insurance payouts or recovery work remain commonplace.