At 31-years-old, Stu Mudge was fresh into the career he loved and was passionate about - mining.
But on November 19, 2010, a decade ago today, he was killed, alongside 28 other men, when Pike River mine on the West Coast exploded.
Only two people made it out of the mine alive 10 years ago. A second explosion followed just five days later, before it was sealed.
Today, Stu's parent's Steve and Carol Rose are remembering the young man who died fulfilling his dream job.
But they're not complacent. They're still fighting for justice for their son as re-entry into the mine 10 years on is under way.
Crews are nearing the end of the tunnel with hopes of finding human remains and evidence that points to what went wrong.
This morning Carol told TVNZ1's Breakfast her son had only been working for four months after three months training.
"He'd got a certificate to say he was a miner and he was so excited about it and this was going to be his career. This was his dream job being underground in a mine working with men," she said.
"Miners get to do cool shit, they drive big machines, you pull a lever and 60 tonnes of steel goes up and digs a big hole. It's a blast and Stu loved it," Steve added.
Steve had been in Stu's life since he was 10, and feels he should have "seen the signs" the mine wasn't safe.
But Carol said the men didn't have a concept of losing their lives, just their livelihoods if they didn't have their jobs.
"A lot of those guys, a lot of them were young men, we had older men in there as well, but a lot of them were young guys and they had families, they had mortgages," she said.
"They couldn't afford to lose their jobs and they just didn't consider that they might actually lose their lives, or if they did they had no concept of what that meant.
"But they really had a concept about what it meant to not have a job, to not pay the mortgage, to not pay the rent and not feed their families so that was the reality of it.
"Even though there were concerns and they all knew that something wasn't quite right, the consequences of losing their jobs were huge."
Steve said on a drunken night a group of miners said they'd go to the Department of Labour and get it sorted. But sobering up, they decided they needed their jobs and carried on working as usual.
Now, Carol and Steve say they're channelling their anger into action - fighting for justice still.
"We hope that this is last anniversary that we have to continue the fight. Today's still about trying to make things happen, trying to get justice for the men, trying to have somebody accountable and trying to get to the truth of what actually happened," Carol said.
"It would be very nice if the 11th anniversary we could actually just concentrate on the men and remember who they are and not have all this other rubbish going on.
"It's been a long 10 years but we wouldn't have not done it. I could never have walked away."