The 81st Hawke's Bay Earthquake commemorations held yesterday in Hastings were extended to Canterbury residents who have suffered a similar ordeal in the past 12 months.
The commemoration drew several hundred people who observed a minute's silence to the chime of the clocktower bell, and Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule laid a wreath with survivors.
The region's youngest generation was represented when St Matthew's School students Brittney Fyfe, 11, and Lucy Youngquest, 12, read a verse from the Bible.
A large group of school children sat cross-legged on the grass in front of several dozen in temporary seating, many of whom were elderly survivors.
Mr Yule said Christchurch's earthquakes were the closest thing many would see to the events in Hawke's Bay on February 3, 1931, likening the collapse of the Roachs' building in Hastings to Christchurch's CTV or PGG buildings.
The commemorations were a necessary reminder of such an important event in the history of Hawke's Bay.
"These sorts of events are a reminder of courage, and community coming together.
"It's the most significant natural disaster we've ever had, so it is important," Mr Yule said.
Earthquake survivor Merle Apperley, 88, said she could still remember the earthquake hitting on the first day of school.
"I always come," she said of the annual service. "It's not a case of having to, it's just a case of being part of it. I think it's quite a poignant thing that we all want to turn up."
Several vintage cars were on display, with signs in their windows declaring they had survived the 1931 earthquake. Next to them was the steam engine used to drag rubble that fateful day.
Observer Mary Moore reiterated the theme of Mr Yule's speech, and felt the service took on special significance this year. "It was especially poignant, as we also joined with the Christchurch community. May they recover as we have done in Hawke's Bay."
The service was also a chance to remind people to be prepared for natural disasters.
Andrew Hickey, from the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management, reminded people of the four Rs: reduction, readiness, response and recovery. New Zealanders must cast aside their "she'll be right" attitude.