The New Zealand city of Christchurch on Thursday marked the 13th anniversary of the devastating 2011 earthquake that claimed 185 lives, with some bereaved families still seeking justice over structural deficiencies blamed for the collapse of a building where over a hundred died.

Of the victims, 115 were killed when the six-story Canterbury Television Building collapsed after the magnitude 6.3 temblor struck the South Island city. Among them were 28 Japanese and other foreigners who were studying English at a language school on the third floor of the building.

A memorial service for bereaved families was held at Avonhead Memorial Cemetery on Thursday morning, followed by a public service at the Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial in which some 400 attendees observed a minute's silence at 12:51 p.m. to mark the time the quake struck on Feb. 22, 2011.

People attend a memorial service marking the 13th anniversary of the 2011 earthquake in the New Zealand city of Christchurch on Feb. 22, 2024. (Kyodo)

Christchurch-born New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon participated in the public service and greeted bereaved families, including those who travelled from Japan for the occasion, expressing his sympathies for their losses.

Kazuo and Seiko Horita from Japan's Toyama Prefecture, whose daughter Megumi died in the CTV building collapse aged 19, visited Christchurch for the first time in four years for the anniversary.

"It's still tough. But I have to come. I'm a parent, after all," said Kazuo, 69, after the service.

More than a decade after the disaster, frustration remains for some bereaved families as no one has been held responsible for the structural problems that allegedly caused the CTV building to collapse.

In 2017, New Zealand police, on the advice of the government's legal advisers, said they would not bring charges against the engineers who designed the building, citing a lack of evidence to secure a conviction in court.

Candles are lit on Feb. 21, 2024, at the site where the Canterbury Television building stood in Christchurch, New Zealand, in front of the photos of 115 victims, including 28 Japanese students, who died when the building collapsed in the M6.3 earthquake on Feb. 22, 2014. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

But Maan Alkaisi, spokesman for the CTV Families Group, an organization of bereaved families, told Kyodo News ahead of the anniversary that the campaign for justice and accountability "is still going on."

After numerous delays, a hearing of the disciplinary committee of Engineering New Zealand, the country's professional body for engineers, took place in December last year over a complaint against the owner of the engineering firm that designed the building.

In a statement read at the three-day hearing, Alkaisi, a retired engineering professor who lost his wife Maysoon Abbas in the collapse, said the long wait for justice "has prevented closure and taken an additional toll on the families."

The committee reserved its decision, to be delivered at a later date. If the complaint is upheld, the committee can decide whether to impose censure, a fine and costs on Alan Reay, the owner of the firm.