13 Mar 2011

Auckland festival-goers remember quake dead

6:30 pm on 13 March 2011

A minute's silence has been observed at a Japanese festival in Auckland in memory of the lives lost in Friday's earthquake and tsunami.

More than 1,800 people are feared dead following the 8.9-magnitude quake and the massive tsunami it triggered along the northeastern coast of Japan on Friday.

The organisers of Japan Day at the ASB showgrounds on Sunday say more than 30,000 people attended the event, which included traditional music, dance and cultural performances.

Some at the festival said they were still struggling to contact friends and family in the north and east of Japan.

In Christchurch, churchgoers have sent their prayers to the people of Japan.

About 200 people, who would normally attend the now earthquake-ruined Christchurch Cathedral, gathered for a Sunday service at Fendalton Primary School.

The Dean of Christchurch Cathedral, the Very Reverend Peter Beck, says Christchurch people can empathise with the citizens of Japan.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is advising against all non-essential travel to Tokyo, and the affected areas in the northeast of Japan.

It says all essential services such as transport and electricity have been disrupted.