More than 30 city council staff and volunteers were involved

Sensitive approach to removal

by Mike Isle

The process of removing the flowers, messages and other tributes left outside the Rolleston Avenue entrance to the Botanic Gardens has begun.

Since the March 15 mosque attacks, thousands of people have placed flowers, toys, cards and other tributes along Rolleston Avenue as a way of expressing their sorrow and support for all those affected by the shootings.

“It has been heart-warming to see the contributions to the wall growing daily, but we reached a point where we need to start removing some of the older flowers and tributes,” Christchurch Botanic Gardens director Wolfgang Bopp said.

“They will be taken initially to a sorting room across the road at the Arts Centre where a team of Canterbury University students and other volunteers will carefully separate the various items, with the aim of making a digital record of the tributes,” Bopp said.

Any messages or tributes that are addressed to a specific person will be offered to the respective family.

The remaining messages and tributes will be placed into long-term storage for possible use by the community at a later stage.

Toys that are still in good condition will be cleaned and also put aside for potential future use.

More than 30 council staff and volunteers were involved in the process.

Bopp said people are still welcome to place flowers along the Rolleston Avenue frontage of the Botanic Gardens.