President Michael D Higgins has visited Christchurch in New Zealand to witness the reconstruction efforts following the devastating February 2011 earthquake.

The earthquake killed 185 people, including two Irish citizens - 41-year-old Co Monaghan father-of-two, Owen McKenna, and 40-year-old father-of-one, John O'Connor, from Kerry.

President Higgins met their families during his visit to the city. He also laid a wreath at the national monument to the victims.

Many more Irish people suffered trauma, loss of property, and were forced from their homes by the quake.

At the time of the earthquake, the Irish community in Christchurch numbered about 1,000 people.

President Higgins also visited the Re:START shopping mall - a temporary shopping centre built from shipping containers in Christchurch.

Initially considered a short-term response to the lack of permanent buildings, Re:START is popular with locals and tourists alike and remains open for business.