The Pike River Recovery Agency works in partnership with the Family Reference Group, who represent the overwhelming majority of the Pike River families.  Here they introduce who they are:

Back in November 2010, Pike River Mine exploded killing 29 men and boys, only allowing two to survive.

‘Stand With Pike’, the families of more than 80% of Pike victims, have fought hard for answers as to why this happened or, more to the point, why no-one intervened to stop it.

Our mission is to seek truth, justice and accountability for what occurred, to make sure New Zealand learns every possible lesson from Pike River, and to bring as many loved ones back to their families as humanly possible. It’s essential to us that no-one involved gets injured, let alone killed, trying to achieve this.

Pike River Mine is still an unexplored crime scene. There has not been a forensic examination of the drift or mine. No-one has been able to explain categorically what happened that day, with best guesses all we’ve had as to the cause. For the families this is simply not good enough. To honour our/their men, our core group known as the FRG (Families Reference Group) decided in November 2016 that they had to act to stop the installation of a planned permanent concrete plug at the entrance to the mine. Our loved ones would have been forever lost to that pit.

Truth and transparency are the values most important to the families as we move forward to bring about closure. To date, we have not been let down and we continue to walk the same path as the Agency and Government in partnership to achieve a common goal.

Anna Osborne

Photo of Anna OsborneI am Anna Osborne, my husband Milton, was killed in the Pike River Mine explosion.  Milton and I have two children and a gorgeous wee grandbaby. I live on the West Coast with many great friends and supporters.  

I am the ‘Stand With Pike’ Family Reference Group liaison person plus secretary for the said group.

I am appalled at the high fatality rate New Zealand has in its workplaces plus the senseless accidents that continue to happen.  

My mission is to honour our men, to be their voices and to bring about some truth, justice, accountability and closure for the families.  My goal, along with our team is to ensure the re-entry into the drift (and beyond) happens.

It is important to me that I work in partnership with the newly formed Pike River Recovery Agency and the government to ensure there is complete transparency moving forward and to establish relationships with the people entrusted to re-enter the drift.

 

Sonya Rockhouse

Photo of Sonya RockhouseMy name is Sonya Rockhouse. I am the mother of Ben Rockhouse who was killed in the explosion at the  Pike River Mine, I am also the mother of Daniel who survived the explosion and walked out of the mine, plus I have another son Matthew who is the eldest of my three sons. I live in Christchurch.

I am incredibly proud to be part of the ‘Stand With Pike’ Family Reference Group and also one of the spokespeople representing the Pike families.

I am part of a team who is working towards the eventual recovery of the drift.

I am driven by the need for truth, justice and accountability which has been sadly lacing through this whole sorry saga.

Our motto is, “We will never give up!”

Bernie Monk

Photo of Bernie MonkMy son Michael was killed at Pike River. I am supported by my wife Kath and children Olivia and Alan.   

Following the disaster that occurred at Pike River mine, I found it not only important but necessary to bring the families together and as a united and organised group, deal with uncovering the truths, mourning, media, and the huge legal challenges that lay ahead. 

The Pike River families group was formed and I was elected spokesperson. Justice and accountability drives this group, and the right for every worker, to return home safely. 

I am dedicated to getting into the drift and beyond and seeing this job through until the end. 

I am now part of a strong Family Reference Group working with the Agency, to gain re-entry, and resolve issues experienced by the families, for any future disaster.

Rob Egan

Photo of Rob EganRob is an advisor with the Family Reference Group.  He provides the FRG with advocacy support and advice.

Rob has a background in government relations and communications.

 

Tony Sutorius

Photo of Tony SutoriusTony Sutorius joins the FRG as a non-family member providing advice on public sector engagement, communications, democratic process, and general strategy.

He works as a professional documentary filmmaker, specialising in democracy and human rights subjects internationally.

Tony first met Anna and Sonya while filming a cinema documentary about Helen Kelly, and after her death remained involved in their story as they led the successful Stand With Pike campaign.

He lives in Wellington with his partner Tania and son Theo, and is a volunteer fire officer.