19 Nov 2018

Emotional day for Pike River families

4:20 pm on 19 November 2018

The anniversary today of the Pike River Mine disaster has brought to the surface some raw emotions for families.

Sonya Rockhouse receives a hug from Bernie Monk at a memorial site for 29 men near the turnoff to the Pike River Mine. 


Sonya Rockhouse receives a hug from Bernie Monk at Atarau, a memorial site near the Pike River Mine. Both lost sons when the mine exploded eight years ago. Photo: RNZ / Conan Young

Memorial services were being held on the West Coast to mark the day eight years ago that 29 men went to work and did not return.

A private service for family was due to be held at the mine's portal at 3.44pm, the exact time the explosion occurred.

A tribute to Ben Rockhouse who died in the Pike River Mine explosion in on November 19, 2010. CONAN YOUNG / RNZ

A memorial for Sonya Rockhouse's son, Ben, at Atarau near Blackball. The 21-year-old was among those who died in the Pike River disaster. Photo: RNZ / Conan Young

Today Sonya Rockhouse who lost her son Ben, said eight years on, she still cried for the death of her son nearly every day.

"It's really sad because I'm starting to forget what his voice sounded like and there is some footage of him talking, some audio footage, and it would have been the last thing he said before the explosion and I haven't been able to bring myself to listen to it yet."

She said the battle her and the other families had fought to re-enter the mine hadn't just been for their men but for all 29 that died that day.

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