10 years on, former West Coast mayor Tony Kokshoorn reflects on the Pike River Mine tragedy

Pete's Writing Life

by Lynley Ward

Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn recalls the day of the Pike River Mine disaster

Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn became the face of the Pike River disaster…

This story was originally published byNew Zealand Woman’s Weeklyand is republished with permission.

It’s the phone call that Tony Kokshoorn remembers as if it was yesterday, a policeman telling him there had been anexplosion at the Pike River Minewith up to 30 people trapped below ground.

That tragedy,which claimed the lives of 29 miners,would become a watershed in the former Grey District mayor’s 15-year tenure as he led the stoic West Coast community through one of the darkest episodes in the region’s history.

“I remember it so vividly,” says Tony (64) who was recently awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit after 21 years of civic duty, which noted his leadership in a time…

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Published by peter petterson

Father of four, grandfather of thirteen, and great-grandfather of eight. Resides in Taita, Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand. Living happily in retirement and enjoying the company of my many young descendants.

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