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, Dingy 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 over ten 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 has held a number of diverse roles within Standards New Zealand, including Senior Project Manager, Head of Development, General Manager Solutions and General Manager Corporate Services. Before joining that organisation, she was Registry Services Manager for the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants.
She is a Cantabrian born and bred, and a strong supporter of the Crusaders.
Working closely with the Chief Executive, Michelle defines and delivers on the agency’s strategic goals and is accountable for the smooth running of the agency’s office.
Principal External Relations Advisor - Communications
Lee Harris is a seasoned communications professional who has worked in local government, the corporate sector, central Government and has most recently been at the West Coast District Health Board for nearly four years.
Lee came to the Coast after working for the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA). Her background also includes many years as a journalist, roles in marketing communications, public relations, and running the film office/undertaking special projects (economic and community development) for the Queenstown Lakes District Council.
Lee lives just north of Punakaiki in the most magnificent part of the Buller District, with the Paparoas just behind her house.
Lee's leads the agency’s communications and engagement activity, including media and social media management.
Family Reference Group Liaison Officer
Emma Cummins has 18 years’ experience in administration and office management and for the last three years she has 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 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.
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.
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 part-time role with the Agency will draw 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.
Underviewer / 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.
Deputy / Mine Worker
Kirk is a coal mine deputy with 29 years underground coal mining experience in the Grey coal field.
He gained his deputy’s certificate of competency in 1998 and has been employed in this position since 2002.
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.
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.
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. He's skilled in underground coal mining hazardous area electrical installations, gas monitoring systems and communication systems.
Engineering Assistant / Task Manager
Tjaart has worked in several underground and open cast coal and hard rock mines, managing projects and maintenance of mining plant and equipment.
He has been with Pike River since 2007 and was part of the engineering staff responsible for the installation of various pump systems into the mine and underground. He was also responsible for the maintenance management of all the underground mechanical related plant and mobile equipment in the initial stages of the mine’s development.
After the mine tragedy in 2010, he remained at the mine, working on the stabilisation of the mine and later attempted recovery efforts of the tunnel/mine.
He is the holder of a Certificate of Competency for Mechanical Superintendent and has a university degree in mechanical engineering.
Principal Staff Officer
Karl Maddaford has been seconded to the Pike River Recovery Agency from the NZ Army. Karl has extensive experience in challenging project work including more than seven years in Afghanistan, serving with the United Nations.
He holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Canterbury and is a certified Project Management professional. At the Agency, he will be coordinating detailed planning for aspects of the manned re-entry project, including the forensics plan, rehabilitation and post close-out planning.
Karl has relocated with his wife Rebecca and their three children to Greymouth for the project.