New Zealand is a nation in mourning as memorial services are held, condolence books arranged, and candles lit throughout the country.

The first church service for the grieving families of the miners was at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Greymouth on Wednesday night.

Twenty-nine candles, one for each of the lost men, flickered as the relatives consoled one another, the evening setting the tone for other services.

A national remembrance service is also set to be held at the Omoto Racecourse near Greymouth. Anglican Archdeacon Robin Kingston said the service would be important in the healing process.

"These places where you gather allow people to collectively mourn, support one another, experience some of the pain and grief and shed some tears.

"It helps people come to terms with the fact this is a tragedy and people have died."

More than 5000 people are expected to attend, including Prime Minister John Key and dignitaries from NZ and overseas.

Archdeacon Kingston said the miners' families would have their own services when they were ready.

Smaller services will also be held throughout the country to allow all New Zealanders to mourn.

A service is planned for Christ Church Cathedral in Nelson at 6pm tomorrow, and another at Te Papa in Wellington.

Yesterday, flags flew at half mast on the Auckland Harbour Bridge and at many public buildings as a mark of respect. A bell tolled at the Cathedral of St Paul in Wellington.

A book at the Grey District Offices has a message from the Government which reads: "They leave behind family and friends and a void that can never be filled. We remember them, salute them, and we will miss them. May they rest in peace, never forgotten."

Condolence books have been placed at the Auckland Town Hall and many libraries throughout the region.

Books are also in the Grand Hall of Parliament, in Invercargill at the Civic Administration Building, in Te Anau at the Lakeside Presbyterian Church and in Nelson at Christ Church Cathedral.

Yesterday, police issued a photograph of Francis Skiddy Marden, 41, the last member of the Pike River 29 to be identified.

Online, has received more than 1000 messages of sympathy - many of them from overseas.

New Zealanders have also been expressing their grief by lighting candles. More than 90,000 people vowed on Facebook to light one between 9 and 9.30 last night.

New Zealand has not been alone in its mourning - the Australian Parliament paused for a moment's silence yesterday in remembrance of the men.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott will sign a book of condolence at the New Zealand High Commission in Canberra.

Meanwhile, Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn has announced the establishment of a Pike River Relief Fund Trust for the families. Donations are being taken at many bank branches.


Bank: Westpac, ANZ, National Bank, or BNZ Bank branches

Credit: 03-0846-0167234-00

Phone: Text 306 to donate $3 automatically

Post: Grey District Council, PO Box 382, Greymouth 7840


PARENTS CENTRES NEW ZEALAND FUND (for families of miners who were soon to be fathers or had small children)

Direct credit 12-3142-0161284-01

Post: Pike Miners' Relief Fund, PO Box 2793, Wellington


Donations at branches or by direct credit

ANZ: 01-1841-0052483-00

BNZ: 02-0844-0074501-00

ASB: 12-3205-0146728-00


Countdown, Woolworths and Foodtown are collecting loose change or adding a donation to grocery bills at the checkout.