Dave Gawn

Dave GawnChief Executive

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.

Before starting with the Agency in early 2018, Dave 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 and New Zealand Police.

Kevin (Dinghy) Pattinson

Dinghy PattinsonChief 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.

Michelle Wessing

Michelle WessingChief 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 with MBIE required to set up the Pike River Recovery Agency since November 2017, she brings significant knowledge as well as leadership and corporate services expertise to the role.

A current member of the Institute of Directors, Michelle works closely with the Chief Executive to define and deliver the agency’s strategic goals.  She is accountable for all administrative, financial, legal and operational activities for our Government department, ensuring the Agency functions effectively and efficiently while meeting all its legal and other obligations.

Michelle responds to information requests from the public and Parliament (Official Information Act requests, Written Parliamentary Questions, Oral Parliamentary Questions).

Michelle is the Crisis Management Lead for emergencies and the Agency's COVID-19 response.

Lee Harris

Lee HarrisPrincipal External Relations Advisor - Communications

Lee is a seasoned communications professional who has worked in local government, the corporate sector, central Government and at the West Coast District Health Board.

Lee leads the Agency’s communications and engagement activity, including media and social media management, events and incident / emergency communications.  She is the Agency's Accessibility champion and manages the website.

She lives just north of Punakaiki in the most magnificent part of the Buller District, with the Paparoas just behind her house.

Emma Cummins

Emma CumminsFamilies Liaison Officer

Emma Cummins has more than 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 and is the Agency's IT champion.  

Lloyd Steward

Lloyd StewardSenior 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.

Paul Kerridge

Paul KerridgeFinance 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.

Grant Collins

Grant CollinsDetective 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. 

Greg Duncan

Greg DuncanMine 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.

Kirk Neilson

Kirk NeilsonMine Underviewer     

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.

Danie Du Preez

Electrical Superintendent / Mine Gas TechnicianPhoto of Danie Du Preez

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.

Liam Collins

Liam Collins photoMechanical Superintendent

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.

Shane McGeady

Photo of Shane McGeadyMine Worker / Control Room Operator

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 Rubbo

Photo of Geoff RubboMine Worker

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 Gardner

Alan Gardner

Diesel Mechanic

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

Mine Worker

Alan (Mace) MasonAlan (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.


Leon Pigott

Mine Worker

Leon PigottLeon 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.


Kevin Kilkelly

Kevin KilkellyMine Worker

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.

Damien (Dooma) Briggs

Damian (Dooma) BriggsDamien (Dooma) Briggs photo

Barrytown-born and bred Dooma trained as a fitter and turner before starting work in mining and drilling in 1992.

The third generation coal miner worked at Spring Creek as a fitter, surface controller and underground driller from 2003 to 2009, and moved on to manage rigs in the oil and gas industry from 2010.

Richie Banks

Photo of Richie BanksMine Worker

Banksie has 40 years’ experience as an underground coal miner, and also 40 years with New Zealand Mines Rescue.  He 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.  Born and bred in Reefton, Banksie still lives there.

Bryan Heslip

Mine worker

Bryan Heslip photoBryan 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.

Bill Potter

Mine WorkerPhoto of Bill Potter

Bill brings to his mining role at Pike River 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.

Chris Coll

Photo of Chris CollMine Surveyor

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 Lee

Chris LeeGeotechnical Engineer

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 Poborowski

Borys PoborowskiVentilation Officer

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.