Mining tragedy still raw wound

By Ross Pringle

It is hard to believe it is more than 720 days since the terrible events at Pike River.

As the first reports came in on November 19, 2010, it was all a touch surreal; this was the sort of thing that happened overseas, not in New Zealand.

Going to bed on Friday night, many of us would have been hoping, expecting, a significant development and good news, if not the rescue of all those trapped.

Sadly that was not to be.

In the two years that have passed, the tragedy has never been too far from the spotlight. The names of the 29 victims and many of the major players will long be remembered.

There have been hearings and some of those who were liked and respected for their stoicism are now reviled for what many perceive to be their role in a company or system which have been found wanting. Safety practices, checks and emergency procedures simply were not at the level they should have been, we have learned. And still the families wait.

They have not given up hope that they might be allowed to go in and retrieve the men who lost their lives.

The tragedy has had a lasting impact on the country, and that reach goes far beyond the mining industry and small West Coast community. On this anniversary, as always, the best most of us can do is again show our solidarity with those who are still grieving and support them as best we can.

Big rig success

What an amazing sight to see the queues of people lining up for a ride in a big rig on Saturday.

Hats off to Darrell Hoskin and the organisers, as well as all the truck operators, for giving their time to the Autism NZ cause.

That 32 units were made available to support such a cause is a marvellous achievement, matched only by the willingness of the local community to brave the elements. Once again, Wanganui has done itself proud.


- Wanganui Chronicle

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