Dave Gawn has enjoyed a distinguished military career spanning 40 years, starting with his enlistment in 1979 and culminating in his appointment as Chief of the New Zealand Army in 2013-15.
For the last two years he was based in Israel engaged as Head of Mission and Chief of Staff, United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO), overseeing peace keeping operations for the five signatories of the 1949 Armistice Agreement.
Prior to his appointment as Chief of New Zealand Army, Dave was Commander Joint Forces New Zealand from 2011 to 2013 and Land Commander New Zealand Army from 2007 to 2010. He holds a Master of Strategic Studies from Deakin University in Australia.
Dave leads the Agency and is accountable to the Minster Responsible for Pike River Re-Entry Andrew Little, while working in partnership with the Families Reference Group.
Kevin (Dinghy) Pattinson
Chief Operating Officer
Dinghy Pattinson has over four decades of underground mining experience on the West Coast and in Waikato. After 37 years in underground coal mining, he has worked most recently in underground metalliferous mining at Oceanagold.
In addition to his strong mining background, Dinghy has been actively involved with the NZ Mines Rescue Service for the past 33 years, with roles including Brigadesman, Huntly Station Manager and Board Member.
He has numerous mining qualifications, including Site Senior Executive and First Class Mine Managers certificates, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Coal Mine Strata Control from the University of New South Wales.
As Chief Operating Officer, Dinghy manages the operational elements of the Pike River re-entry work programme and has responsibility for ensuring activities at the mine comply with statutory health and safety requirements.
Chief of Staff
Michelle Wessing has more than 10 years’ experience in senior management, most recently as Acting Chief Executive of Standards New Zealand. Having managed the ambitious programme of work required to set up the Pike River Recovery Agency, she brings significant knowledge as well as leadership and corporate services expertise to the role.
Michelle, who is a current member of the Institute of Directors, works closely with the Chief Executive to define and deliver on the agency’s strategic goals. She is accountable for all administrative, financial, legal and operational activities for our newly established Government department, to ensure the Agency functions effectively and efficiently while meeting all its legal and other obligations.
Michelle leads the Agency's COVID-19 response.
Principal External Relations Advisor - Communications
Lee Harris is a seasoned communications professional who has worked in local government, the corporate sector, central Government and most recently at the West Coast District Health Board for four years.
Lee lives just north of Punakaiki in the most magnificent part of the Buller District, with the Paparoas just behind her house.
Lee leads the Agency’s communications and engagement activity, including media and social media management, and incident / emergency communications.
Families Liaison Officer
Emma Cummins has 20 years’ experience in administration and office management and prior to joining the Agency she supported the General Manager, Energy and Resource Markets (ERM) at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
Emma played an active role on the ERM leadership team and in branch governance, supporting organisational change and implementing streamlined processes. She has a wide-ranging knowledge of government and is a solutions-focused problem solver.
Emma started working with the Family Reference Group in November 2017, during the Pike River Recovery Agency establishment.
Emma manages the agency’s relationship with the Pike River Family Reference Group.
Senior Project Manager
Lloyd Steward has been involved in the mining industry for seven years. After completing his Bachelor of Science majoring in Geology and Masters of Engineering Management at the University of Canterbury, Lloyd started
his working career as an Environmental Engineer for Solid Energy. From 2013 – 2015, he worked as the Junior Project Manager for the Pike River Recovery under Solid Energy.
For the past few years he has been running a mining and manufacturing company of industrial minerals.
As the Senior Project Manager, Lloyd manages tasks to ensure the project is delivered on time and on budget. In his spare time he is a keen mountain biker, trail runner and supporter of local cafés and restaurants.
Senior Advisor/Private Secretary
John has held a variety of policy, management, and advisory/support positions across the public sector.
He has worked in the State Services Commission, the Department of Justice, the Department of Labour and MBIE, as a contractor in New Zealand and as a development advisor in Africa and Asia.
Since 2011 John has had more than four years' experience as a ministerial private secretary. He holds a Master of Public Policy degree from Victoria University of Wellington.
John was born in Wellington but raised in Timaru and Christchurch before returning north. He now lives with his family (and two cats) in the seaside suburb of Eastbourne.
John is a conduit between the Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-Entry, his office and our Agency.
Advisor/Executive Assistant to Chief Executive
Karen has worked in education, community development and government roles, most recently at Community and Public Health in Greymouth. Having lived on the West Coast for more than 30 years, she has extensive networks and knowledge of the community.
A Member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors, Karen was a Grey District Councillor for nine years and was on the Council at the time of the Pike River Mine disaster.
Karen prepares weekly reports to the Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-Entry, Andrew Little, assists with information requests and provides administrative support to the technical team. She also provides executive support to the Chief Executive.
Finance Operations Officer
Greymouth-born Paul Kerridge has worked in the fishing industry, the ski industry, and has also practised law, along with his business consulting background.
Paul returned to the West Coast to develop all the administration and accounting systems required for a group of related companies involved in civil earthworks and gold mining.
Paul’s role with the Agency draws on his business administration and systems experience, dealing with all aspects of accounts payable, payroll, and managing various supply contracts for the agency.
In his spare time Paul, who lives in Hokitika, spends time being walked by his dog. He is keen to rediscover the local club ski field scene, while in summer he is a fiercely competitive sailor at the back of the fleet in his vintage boat.
Lelia De La Mare
Administration Officer (part-time)
Lelia spent just under 20 years in the banking industry doing back office work, lending, credit cards, insurance, debt collection and asset management.
She moved to the Coast 15 years ago and bought a small business - running all aspects of the office and working in the shop.
Before moving to the Agency, Lelia was an account manager for a PPE company.
Detective Senior Sergeant Grant Collins, NZ Police
Grant Collins has served in New Zealand Police since 1999, starting his policing career as a constable in Auckland. He joined the Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) in 2003 and qualified as a detective in 2006, and later as Detective Sergeant in 2012.
Grant is a national lead in telecommunications data analysis, specialising in cell site data and mapping, and cyber-enabled crime.
Closely involved with the Canterbury earthquakes since 2011, Grant took leading roles on the Missing Persons team and Foreign Nationals desk. He helped to prepare the 185 Coronial Files for Inquest Hearings and assisted the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission (CERC). In 2014 Grant was appointed as 2IC on the CTV Investigation; one of the largest and most complex manslaughter investigations conducted by New Zealand Police.
Mine Manager / Health & Safety Manager
Greg grew up in a coal mining family on the West Coast and gained a mining engineering degree from Otago University.
While working in the Huntly underground mines he gained his First Class Coal Mine Manager's qualification.
He came back to the Coast in 1987 to manage various mines, including Terrace, Strongman, Strongman 2, Mt Davy and Spring Creek Mine.
He has 40 years’ experience with mine gases, spontaneous combustion and difficult geotechnical conditions as commonly found in New Zealand Coal mines.
Senior Mine Assistant / Mechanical Superintendent
Matt has spent about 25 years in mechanical engineering, including stints at five of the large underground coal mines on the West Coast. He has been a New Zealand Mines Rescue member for the past 20 years.
Outside coal mining, Matt worked on the Auckland Waterview project where two tunnels were driven using a large diameter tunnel-boring machine. He has been mechanical superintendent of remedial work on road tunnels in Kaikoura, and other pipe-jacking tunnels in the North Island.
As Senior Mine Assistant/Mechanical Superintendent, Matt will assist the Chief Operating Officer with planning and implementation of operational elements of the Pike River re-entry work and is also responsible for the safe operation of all mechanical plant, ensuring all equipment on site complies with statutory health and safety requirements.
Kirk is a Coal Mine Underviewer with 30 years' underground mining experience in the Grey coal field.
He gained his deputy’s certificate of competency in 1998 and was employed in that position from 2002. In 2018 he gained his underviewer's certificate of competency.
Kirk is an extraction and development supervisor with experience in gassy conditions, heavy ground and dealing with the management of spontaneous combustion events.
He is very focused on safety.
Bryan started his mining career in 1996 in Ohai, Southland, going underground in 1999. He moved on to the Roa Mine (a hydro mining set up) out the back of Rapahoe in 2004.
A member of the NZ Mines Rescue service for 15 years, Bryan is a qualified Coal Mine Underviewer and has his B class tunnel manager’s ticket.
Control Room Operator / Mine Worker
Barry started work at Morley mine, Southland in 1969, becoming an experienced miner after five years. He trained in mines rescue for 16 years. Barry moved to Wairaki, Southland after the closure of Morley mine.
He gained his deputy's ticket in 1989 and was employed in this role until Wairaki closed. After a brief break from the industry in 2008, Barry was employed as a control room operator at the Pike River Mine.
Following the disaster in 2010, he was employed as deputy during the planned re-entry by Solid Energy.
Barry brings with him sound knowledge and experience in all facets of underground coal mining.
Danie Du Preez
Electrical Superintendent / Mine Gas Technician
Danie's previous roles include electrical superintendent for Spring Creek, Rocky Creek and Solid Energy’s Reefton operations.
Danie is skilled in underground coal mining hazardous area electrical installations, gas monitoring systems and communication systems.
Clint is an Electrical Technician who has worked in underground mining, along with domestic and commercial work. He has a NZ Practising Licence - Endorsed Mining.
After his early years at Strongman 2 and Spring Creek, the West Coaster worked as an industrial electrician for Key Mining Services. He has been running his own business as an electrician since 2009, and has continued to provide services to various mine sites throughout.
As well as his electrician work, Clint has completed the Tai Poutini Polytech Certificate in Business Computing, and he has an ongoing interest in computer programming and 3D modelling.
Mark began his electrical apprenticeship at the Mount Davy underground coal mine and completed it at Stockton. He has also spent time working in various electrical roles in the United Kingdom, and for several years in gold and nickel mines in Western Australia. He spent a few years as a member of the underground Mines Rescue team. Mark has owned and managed an electrical contracting business and most recently has been working for the Buller District Council. His hobbies include running and completing ultramarathons, surfing and skiing.
Mine Maintenance Planner
Liam is a professional maintenance manager with a background in all aspects of mobile plant. Previously Liam has worked as a heavy diesel technician, field service technician and maintenance manager, including in mines in Australia.
The Greymouth man is committed to health and safety.
Vinnie is an experienced underground miner, operator, shotfirer and leading hand who has worked at various underground coal and metalliferous operations on the West Coast and Otago.
He has operated both mechanised and handheld mining equipment, with strong skills in drilling and blasting.
Vinnie has his B Grade Tunnel Manager’s certificate of competency and he has been a member of the New Zealand Mines Rescue Service since 2012.
Shane McGeady started learning the building trade at 16 with Graeme Pizzato. That took him to Spring Creek when he was 18, on the carpentry crew, before being employed by Solid Energy doing the same job.
He joined NZ Mines Rescue Service about six years ago and was contracted through the service to seal Spring Creek in 2017. About that time he started a building and tiling company.
Shane wanted to be part of the Pike River recovery so joined the mining team after initially being contracted to carry out some building work.
Geoff has had 21 years of underground mining experience with mechanical and hydro techniques. He has worked at various West Coast mines, and has also completed a carpentry apprenticeship.
His mining expertise includes competency in roof and rib support techniques, knowledge of pumping systems, and an ability to manage gas and ventilation issues.
Geoff has been a member of the New Zealand Mines Rescue Service since 2005.
Alan is a mechanic with qualifications in plant maintenance, diesel engine systems, gas testing and brake testing. He has worked in the coal industry since 1994, including a position as Mobile Underground Diesel Fleet Supervisor, organising all maintenance and rebuilds.
In his spare time, Alan is interested in cars, motorbikes, family and rugby league.
Alan (Mace) Mason
Alan (Mace) began his mining career in 1987 at the Surprise Mine in Reefton. From there he moved on to Terrace and Spring Creek Mines.
He was a brigadesman with New Zealand Mines Rescue from 1991 - 2018 and has more than 25 years of experience with hydro mining, gas management and strata support systems.
Peter has six years of underground mine experience, including as a contractor at the Terrace Mine and Spring Creek.
An experienced builder by trade, Peter was mining in Australia most recently, before starting with the Agency. He was born and bred in Runanga, where he still lives with his family.
Leon has lived on the Coast for 19 years, in a variety of roles including working underground at Spring Creek, as a heavy commercial tyre fitter, and for Kiwirail.
Leon has completed six years with the New Zealand Mines Rescue as a brigadesman. He has three children.
Shane was a coal miner for nearly 20 years before trying his hand in the transport industry as a truck driver, and most recently he has been a logger.
He was with New Zealand Mines Rescue and involved in the initial response to the Pike River tragedy, and later helped with the installation of the 170m barrier in 2011. Shane is committed to professional development and training.
Bill comes to the Agency mining team with more than 30 years of underground mining experience in coal and gold. Previous work sites include Spring Creek, Mount Davy, Strongman, Terrace, Denniston, Whareatea and Alexander.
After Spring Creek closed, Bill worked for Oceana Gold in Reefton truck driving and on the blast crew for a couple of years, and was subsequently a truck driver for Meadow Fresh.
Mick has more than 20 years’ experience in underground coal mining and gold mining on the West Coast and in Australia.
The Hokitika man’s experience includes working at Strongman and Spring Creek, Roa and with Phoenix Mining in Hokitika.
Richie has 40 years’ experience as an underground coal miner, and also 40 years with New Zealand Mines Rescue. He has worked at and operated a number of private underground mines on the West Coast and more recently worked for Solid Energy at the Terrace Mine near Reefton.
Born and bred in Reefton, Richie still lives there.
Greymouth man Kevin returned to the Coast to work with the Agency from a role as a mechanical fitter in a Queensland Mine.
As well as his time at Spring Creek on the Coast as an underground maintenance fitter, Kevin has had a number of different roles, including motor mechanic, logging truck driver, tanker driver, barista, delivery driver, café owner, labourer and school caretaker.
After working at a mine in Australia for the past two and a half years, Boyd was keen to get back to the West Coast. Boyd started his working career as a fitter and turner, before working at mine sites all over New Zealand and Australia in various roles for around 25 years.
Boyd is particularly interested in further education and has committed many years to the New Zealand Fire Service and Queensland Mines Rescue Service.
A West Coaster who has returned home after working as a mining contractor in New South Wales for the past few years, Brendon has worked in underground mines in New Zealand and Australia for about 17 years.
He has also spent several years as a Mines Rescue Brigadesman in NSW. When not working, Brendon enjoys motor sports, rugby league, working on cars and spending time with family.
Born and raised in Greymouth, Jamie is a qualified automotive mechanic with more than 20 years’ experience in the mechanical industry. He also worked at the Spring Creek Mine for a few years as an underground diesel mechanic.
In his spare time, Jamie enjoys sports, hot rods and spending time with his partner and daughter.
Health, Safety, Risk and Assurance Advisor
Before working with the Pike River Recovery Agency, Casandra was Health and Safety Advisor at OceanaGold in Reefton during the project’s restoration phase. Previously she worked as a Health and Safety Officer in Mexico. With a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering and a Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety, Cas has experience in reviewing and working with Principal Control Plans, Principal Hazard Management Plans and critical controls.
In her spare time she volunteers for Coastguard Lake Brunner as the training officer and operational crew. She also enjoys dancing, camping, skiing, volleyball, travel and family activities.
Chris Coll is the principal of his surveying and resource management consultancy Chris J Coll Surveying. He has extensive experience in both open cast and underground mine surveying and has provided services to coal, gold and limestone mines and tunnelling operations.
Chris is a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Surveyors, Registered Professional Surveyor, Licensed Cadastral Surveyor, Registered Surveyor and holds a Mine Surveyor Certificate of Competence. He is the Examiner for Mine Surveying for the New Zealand Institute of Surveyors Professional Entrance Examinations. He has been appointed to the New Zealand Mining Board’s Register of Examiners by Worksafe NZ. He holds a Diploma in Land Surveying and a New Zealand Certificate of Engineering (Civil).
At the Pike River Mine, Chris' work includes the preparation and certification of mine plans for submission to WorkSafe NZ, drillhole set-out to assist with drive intersection, installation of survey control, topographical surveying and provision of UAV aerial imagery and photogrammetrical data to inform decision-making.
Chris is a Senior Geotechnical Engineer with 17 years underground mining and tunnelling experience who is contracted to the Pike River Recovery Agency.
He gained a post graduate engineering geology degree from Canterbury University in 2002 and underground strata control qualifications from the University of New South Wales in 2006. Chris started work for Solid Energy in 2002 and had exposure to many underground mining operations including Terrace, Strongman 2 and Spring Creek Mine.
Chris has extensive experience in the development, implementation and management of geotechnical programs in technically challenging underground mining environments, with particular reference to the management of underground strata control hazards in local West Coast conditions.
Borys has 22 years' practical experience in underground ventilation and ventilation related hazard management from three countries, mainly in coal mining. His qualifications include an MSc Mining Eng (Silesian Tech University, Gliwice, Poland) with Grad Diploma in Mine Ventilation (UNSW, Sydney).
Borys is an active member of the New Zealand Mines Rescue Service. He participated in a successful rescue operation of two miners entrapped by roof fall for 60 hours (KWK Kazimierz-Juliusz, Sosnowiec, Poland).
Borys has been the statutory Ventilation Officer for Pike River Mine since January 2017.