28 Nov 2010

How they'll be buried is up to the families

10:44 am on 28 November 2010

The Grey District Mayor says no decision has been made on how the 29 miners will be laid to rest once their bodies are recovered from the Pike River mine.

Tony Kokshoorn says that because the West Coast has a history of mining disasters, there are mass graves at some West Coast cemeteries.

One such grave commemorates the country's greatest mining tragedy at the Brunner mine in 1896, when 65 workers died following a gas and coaldust explosion. Fifty-three of them were buried at Stillwater Cemetery.

Mr Kokshoorn says that whether a similar burial would be held for the 29 men is up to the families.

Meanwhile, the families have had a chance to give their thoughts on Thursday's public memorial service at the Omoto racecourse,

details of which are expected to be revealed on Sunday.

Some of the clergy organising Thursday's service briefed the families about plans for the memorial when they visited the mine on Saturday.

A spokesperson for the Anglican church, Jason Rhodes, says even though the formal service is for the community and the nation, it is important the families have a major input.

The miners are being remembered at church services in Greymouth and elsewhere in the country on Sunday.