Cantabrians will watch the sunrise from New Brighton Beach tomorrow to mark five years since the September 2010 earthquake.
The magnitude 7.1 quake struck shortly after 4.30am, damaging many buildings, ripping up roads and causing the ground to liquefy.
Christchurch's eastern suburbs and parts of the Selwyn and the Waimakariri districts were worst-hit.
Many properties experienced liquefaction and were abandoned after they were red-zoned following the subsequent February 2011 quake, which killed 185 people and left many with life-long injuries.
Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel has invited people to gather outside the New Brighton Library about 6am, before walking to the beach for the sunrise.
She said the anniversary was a time to remember what the city and its residents have been through in the last five years.
Associate Earthquake Recovery Minister Nicky Wagner will speak on behalf of the government.
Recovery going 'pretty well' - PM
Prime Minister John Key, who was in Christchurch today to open a new central city hotel, said every time he visited the city, he saw signs the rebuild was well underway.
Mr Key said, despite some unresolved Earthquake Commission (EQC) and insurance claims, he was confident the recovery was on track.
"I look around the world at countries and cities that have had such significant events - we're doing pretty well. Of course, that's cold comfort for the people who don't have all the answers or resolutions to the issues that they face, but it's not for want of trying," he said.
"A lot of Cantabrians I meet do feel the momentum that's happening. They do feel a lot more confident."