Water-based tribute to fallen miners

Smoke billows from the ventilation shaft after the fourth explosion in the Pike River coal mine. Photo / NZPA
Smoke billows from the ventilation shaft after the fourth explosion in the Pike River coal mine. Photo / NZPA

A water-based memorial to West Coast coalminers who lost their lives in workplace accidents will be completed in time for the second anniversary of the Pike River Mine disaster on November 19.

The focal point of the memorial will be a granite sculpture of three life-sized mine workers, surrounded by a large revolving circle depicting the Pike River Mine portal. It will be centred in Lake Karoro in Water Walk Road, near Grey Base Hospital.

Initially, the site was to be dedicated solely to the Pike 29, but the memorial committee, made up mainly of Pike River families, resolved last week to make it in memory of all West Coast coalminers killed in the line of duty.

Memorial committee chairman Mayor Tony Kokshoorn said a large plaque on the shoreline would bear the names of all the miners who never made it home from work, and the committee was keen to ensure that no one was overlooked.

"We will be consulting with local mining historian Peter Ewen on this but, to make sure that we have everyone, would like family members of all coalminers, from Karamea to Haast, who died in accidents at work to register their names with the Grey District Council."

The memorial will include a lakeside deck that will extend out to the centre of the pond, enabling visitors to walk out to the monument to pay their respects, Mr Kokshoorn said.

"The site was chosen for its serenity. The water offers a soothing effect, it's away from the main traffic stream but close enough to give easy access, and the birdlife adds to the peaceful effect."

- GREYMOUTH STAR

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