Baby's birth 'bittersweet' for Pike River mine widow

By Jarrod Booker

Joshua Ufer. Photo / Supplied
Joshua Ufer. Photo / Supplied

The birth of a baby girl whose father died in the Pike River mine has brought sunshine back into the lives of grieving families. But the arrival of Erika Millicent Ufer on Saturday was a "bittersweet" moment for some.

Erika's father, Australian Joshua Ufer, 25, died with 28 other mine workers after a series of explosions in the West Coast coal mine last November. Mr Ufer's partner, Rachelle Weaver, was four months pregnant when the disaster happened.

Mother and baby were doing well, Ms Weaver's mother Nancye Langley told the Herald.

"We are just trying to have a bit of quiet family time at the moment."

A birth notice for Erika described her as a "special little girl who brings sunshine back into our lives".

Mr Ufer's mother, Joanne Ufer, visiting New Zealand with her partner, Kevin, and daughter Kymberley, told the Herald she was "so excited by the birth of the beautiful baby Erika".

"It is going to be very hard for us to return to Australia later this week.

"It was a thrill to be able to be here for the birth but bittersweet that Joshua was not able to be a part of it."

Mr Ufer had arrived in New Zealand from Australia not long before the mine tragedy and soon fell in love with Ms Weaver.

They had planned to travel to Australia to have the baby there.

Ms Weaver and her family were determined Erika would grow up knowing what a good man her father was, and what an "exceptional father" he would have been.

- NZ Herald

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