Pike River a decade on: The special place families go to remember their loved ones, thanks to the generosity of a local farmer

The men who died in the Pike River Mine were never recovered, and their families were never able to give them a funeral and lay them to rest properly. 

But they do have a special place to remember their loved ones thanks to the generosity of local farmer and landowner Paul Berry.

Atarau, which is on the way to the Pike River Mine, is a special place for Bernie Monk. He stops there at least once a week to see his boy.  

His son, Michael Monk, was just 23-years-old when he was killed at Pike River a decade ago. 

"The white stream comes into the big river here so we know that the spirit of the men is coming past this memorial site every day, every minute, every second," Bernie told Newshub. 

None of the miners has ever been recovered so a special place to grieve was called for. Each miner has his own rock - the closest thing the families have got to a gravesite. 

Every year families gather there before getting on buses and making their way up to the site of their devastation. 

Images of 27 of the 29 victims released five days after the first explosion.
Images of 27 of the 29 victims released five days after the first explosion. Photo credit: File/New Zealand Police

Atarau offers them a quiet place to feel close to their loved ones. Berry said his family feels privileged to have done something meaningful for the families.

"Hopefully it has taken a bit of weight off them as well - something that's not too far away from where the chaps are."