Lloyd Burr: Injustice in paradise at Pike River

OPINION: Not even 100 metres up Logburn Rd is the memorial to the 29 men killed at Pike River Mine.

It's in the corner of a paddock donated by the Berry family, on the banks of Big River, which has its tributaries in the Paparoa Ranges where the mine is located.

The memorial is beautiful. It looks out at the snow-capped hills, the breeze is fresh, and the sound of the river is relaxing.

But there's something in the air. It's injustice. The memorial is a reminder of the injustices the families have had to endure.

Lloyd Burr: Injustice in paradise at Pike River
Photo credit: Newshub.

The injustice of the disaster, the injustice of way the attempted rescue was carried out, the injustice of the failed recovery efforts, and the injustice of failed re-entry bids.

It's a reminder of the injustice of Pike River bosses flouting laws, and escaping charges, and getting away scot free.

To the families, it's a reminder of the injustice of John Key's broken promise, and his Government's treatment of those who've given up everything to fight for answers.

There are 29 rocks placed around the outskirts of the memorial - one for each of the men. They are decorated with flowers, plaques, cans of bourbon, and there's even an Aero chocolate bar.

Their bodies lie 15 kilometres up the road, and down a 2.3 kilometre tunnel of solid rock. Each rock a reminder that it can't be their final resting place.

Photo credit: Newshub.

The closest the public can get to the mine is 6 kilometres up the road from the memorial.

It's a confronting and haunting sight arriving at the locked gates. The families have created 29 life-sized figures on wooden frames, dressed in overalls, hard hats and name badges.

Weka walk amongst the figures, oblivious to the pain they represent. A security camera spies from the other side of the gates.

It's such a beautiful part of the country. It's almost peaceful. But peace will only arrive here once the families get justice, and get their men back.

Lloyd Burr is a political reporter for Newshub.

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