Widows of the men who died in a trawler tragedy off New Zealand's coast are hoping for some form of justice this week.

A coroner's inquest into the Oyang 70 fishing vessel tragedy begins today in Wellington.

It sank in calm waters off the Otago coast in 2010, claiming the lives of five Indonesian men and their Korean skipper.

The Indonesians were allegedly subjected to frequent beatings on the trawler and made to work for days without rest.


Advocate for the victims' families, Daren Coulston, says the incident has had a huge effect on their lives.

"They want to know that if something has gone wrong and could've been avoided, that it would be fixed for other people who come after them but also if it's identified that people were not up to the mark that there will be some accountability.''

He says because the Korean owners of the vessel have done nothing for the Indonesian families, they now rely on the help of NGOs and other charities to survive.

"They're very keen to know exactly what happened and to have their say about how they feel and to be informed as things progress.''

Mr Coulston says the families have recently received compensation from ACC for the men's deaths, but the Korean owners of the vessel have refused to step up.