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'NZ stands with you,' Jacinda Ardern tells families of Pike River victims, 10 years on from disaster

The Pike River Mine tragedy commemorative service at Parliament today saw the Prime Minister and politicians from across the House come together with the families of the 29 men who lost their lives, 10 years on from the tragedy. 

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Pike families and MPs gathered in Parliament to remember the 29 men killed in 2010. Source: 1 NEWS

"At 3.44pm today, New Zealand will remember them," Jacinda Ardern said. 

The room erupted in applause as the Famile Reference Group's Sonya Rockhouse, Anna Osborne and Rowdy Durbridge entered the room. 

Osborne welcomed the Pike River families, with some gathering on the West Coast, Australia, Scotland, South Africa, and some who chose to remember by themselves. 

"This is such a very personal day for everyone," she said. "All Pike River families suffered a major loss back in 2010.

"Now, 10 years on, I hope we can all find peace and solace our men did not die in vain. Their legacy will live on. 

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Twenty-nine men died after an explosion in the mine on November 19, 2010. Source: Breakfast

"It is changes here in this House, that can stop this happening again."

Ardern acknowledged the 29 men who died. 

"Ten years ago, New Zealand saw a disaster and grief that was so gut-wrenching, it was also unimaginable. 

"For the families of the 29 it was only the beginning. You were left to pick up the pieces. 

"But more than that, you were left to fight - to bear the burden that what happened at Pike River shouldn't have happened. 

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Tomorrow marks 10 years since the explosion that took the lives of 29 men. Source: 1 NEWS

"Sons, brothers, fathers, husbands, uncles... but I also want to acknowledge you, the Pike River families," she said. 

"You are the ones who said, 'Never again.'

"Today. New Zealand embraces you, New Zealand wishes you rest, and most importantly, New Zealand stands with you and the Pike 29."

She said the legacy of Pike River the families wanted "means ensuring all New Zealand workplaces are safe".

"We can never make up for the loss their families suffered, but we can honour them by keeping working to improve New Zealand’s woeful record on workplace safety," she said. 

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It was the first time families of the 29 victims were taken almost 200 metres inside the disaster site. Source: 1 NEWS

"These men died at work and that just should not happen.

"The tragedy of Pike River Mine has been the loss of these men to their loved ones and generations to come," Ardern said to the families. "They were never able to lead full lives and their families have suffered because of that."

National's Simon Bridges, the Green Party's Marama Davidson and Jan Logie, and new Workplace Relations Minister Michael Wood attended the service. 

A methane explosion occurred on the West Coast mine at 3.44pm on November 19, 2010, with 31 miners and contractors inside at the time.

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Sonya Rockhouse, Rowdy Durbridge and Anna Osborne honoured those killed, during a commemorative service at Parliament. Source: 1 NEWS

Two men were able to walk out of the mine with moderate injuries, but the remaining 29 have never been recovered.

On September 16, the critical area for forensic examination known as Pit Bottom in Stone was reached, after it was announced on November 14, 2018, that Pike River Mine would be re-entered.