The Northland brother of a man killed in the Pike River disaster is hopeful a mine re-entry will go ahead.

Geoff Valli's brother Keith, who hailed from Southland, is one of the 29 people who lost their lives in the Pike River Mine tragedy in 2010.

On Sunday, seven years to the day since the first explosion rocked the mine, Andrew Little, the minister responsible for the Pike River Re-entry, handed over the key to the gate of the Pike River mine access road to the families of the deceased as a symbol of the Government's effort to re-enter the mine.

Geoff, a builder by trade who moved to Whangarei in 1981, said he was more hopeful the new Government would seriously consider going into the mine.


He said the previous Government "weren't interested in getting in there" and had put up "road blocks" all the way along.

"It's got to be done properly of course."

The families did not expect a re-entry at all costs and did not want more lives lost.

Keith, 62, had spent his working life in mines. He was too young to retire after his job ended at a mine at Ohai, near Nightcaps, and he had moved to Greymouth to work.

Geoff, a former All Black, said the matter should have been "done and dusted" years ago.

"It must be very frustrating for the Greymouth people."

On Monday, Cabinet approved the establishment of the Pike River Recovery Agency, Te Kahui Whakamana Rua Tekau ma Iwa, which will investigate what happened in the 2010 disaster and look into the possibility of manned re-entry into the mine's drift.

The agency will work in partnership with the Pike River families to plan for decisions on the manned re-entry of the drift of the Pike River Mine.

Mr Little said the agency would look to re-enter the mine by the end of March 2019.

The former National government had rejected the families' pleas for a manned re-entry as too risky.

Solid Energy had planned to fill the mine with concrete, but the families occupied the mine access road in January to prevent that happening and the plan was abandoned.