Pike Families welcome opening of drift
Pike River FRG media release - 21 May, 2019
The group representing 29 of the Pike River Families - the Pike River Family Reference Group - has welcomed the unsealing of the mine at a private family event this morning.
© Pike River Family Reference Group
FRG member Anna Osborne lost her husband to the mine explosion in 2010. She says the opening of the drift was an intense moment. “Watching those doors open and seeing the light enter that dark tunnel for the first time in years was incredibly emotional. We’ve known we are going back in for a year now, today it feels like it.
“This is the start of a journey that will end with truth and justice.”
FRG member Sonya Rockhouse agrees. “In my mind I know this is just one moment in a long process that we have been planning for since the agency was created, but to stand there today and see the doors open hit me in my heart.
“And to think, all this might never have happened if we hadn’t blockaded the sealing of the drift and if New Zealand hadn’t stood with us. It’s just incredible.”
FRG member Rowdy Durbridge worked at Pike River mine and lost his boy Dan in the explosion. “We’ve said for years that the drift could be recovered safely and now it is being recovered. I’ve walked that tunnel many times myself, but this time it’ll be different.
“Right from the start there’s been a lot of talk about respect for the 29, I reckon that going in, getting the evidence, and finding them justice is the best respect we can offer.”
Background on the FRG is available here