Renowned actor and director Ian Mune has joined the picket line alongside the Pike River families this morning.
The families are in their seventh year fighting the permanent sealing of the mine, leaving the bodies of the 29 men killed in 2010's disaster inside.
Mune, director of Once Were Warriors sequel What Becomes of the Broken Hearted? and The End of the Golden Weather, says the families are standing up for human dignity and treating people with respect and honour.
In December last year the families gained control of Logburn Rd after an apparent oversight meant local farmer Colin Van Der Geest privately owned the only route to the mine.
A fence and 29 white crosses painted on the road now stand between the mine and Solid Energy's cement trucks, on standby to seal the entrance.
Mune surprised families and supporters with a visit today while on holiday visiting friends on the West Coast.
He felt strongly about what the situation and false promises means for the rest of the country.
"I've always been proud to be a New Zealander and of New Zealand; of fair play, respect for others, for dealing with people with honour - and I think all of those things will be buried behind four tonnes of cement at Pike River.
"Some of the people in political power, economic power, it's revealed who they really are and what their attitudes are to New Zealanders," he said.
"I'm wondering why a prime minister can say 'I'll get them out of there' and then not talk to them. I'm wondering why a new prime minister on his first day in office declines to see a delegation of the families who have come all the way up at their own expense to Wellington to try and communicate with the people in power. I see no honour here."
Born in Auckland, Mune's acting career spans more than four decades.
He's also well-known for his work as a director - in particular for the sequel to Once Were Warriors, What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?
In 1991, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to the theatre and film industry.