Family remember Pike River miner

Michael Monk. Photo / Supplied
Michael Monk. Photo / Supplied

Michael Monk was a young man with big plans for a bright future.

Instead he was one of the 29 miners who died in the Pike River Coal mine explosion, his life cut short at 23.

Mr Monk's family released a statement tonight saying they were devastated by the tragic loss of a young man who would be remembered as a loving son, brother, partner and friend.

"He was proud to be a qualified builder and his attention to detail and the high standards he set himself were highly valued by all who employed him," his family said.

"For such a young man this 23-year-old had many ambitions and big plans for a bright future.

"He was a great saver and was paying off a section and looking forward to building his own home and travelling overseas with his long-term partner, Gemma."

Michael had been passionate about rugby from an early age and, following a proud family tradition, played representative rugby for the West Coast.

He was a proud member of the Blaketown Rugby Club and for the past three years had played in the Heartland Championship.

"A versatile player who made a significant contribution to West Coast rugby, Michael played at the highest representative level in the Heartland Championships and will always be remembered by his local Blaketown Club as a man who never gave up without a fight," his family said.

Michael attended St Bede's College, in Christchurch, before spending a year as a house tutor at Ireland's Rockwell College in 2005.

He returned home to undertake a building apprenticeship, which he completed in January this year. He worked at the Pike River mine as a building contractor for past six months and also regularly worked behind the bar in his family's Paroa Hotel.

"He was always there for his family and his mates and his unswerving loyalty and wicked sense of humour will never be forgotten."

Michael is survived by his parents, Bernie and Kath, siblings Olivia and Alan, and partner Gemma.

- NZPA

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