Memorial for miners
More than 1, people attended a memorial service for the 29 men killed in the Pike River mine disaster, which was held at Greymouth’s Omoto Racecourse on December 2. Each man was remembered with a black-draped table bearing a miner’s hat and lamp. Pike River mine was rocked by an explosion on 19 November, trapping the miners. People paused for a two-minute silence before the service to remember the men. Flags flew at half-mast on government buildings nationwide. PM John Key said the nation’s four million people were standing behind the region’s tight-knit community. “We hoped … they’d emerge from the depths of the Earth,” Key told the mourners. “But they never came home.” A second blast five days later destroyed any hopes that they had survived, and the men’s bodies have still not been recovered. Foreign diplomats, including high commissioners from Australia, Britain and South Africa — who lost nationals in the disaster — were also at the service.