Author(s): Rebecca Macfie
On a sunny afternoon in November 2010, in the beautiful Paparoa Range of the South Island, a massive explosion rocked an underground coal mine. Later that day two ashen men stumbled from the entrance. Twenty-nine men remained unaccounted for.
Initial probes revealed fatally high methane levels in the mine - conditions deemed unsurvivable for the trapped men. But it was only after a second blast five days later that all hope was extinguished.
Tragedy at Pike River Mine is a dramatic, superbly researched and page-turning account of a disaster that should never have happened, of the dramatic political and legal fallout, and the effect on the small West Coast community. It reveals an appalling string of mistakes, from consent being given for the mine in the first place, to lack of proper monitoring equipment, pressure to ignore safety requirements, and effectively only a single exit. It puts a human face on the people who suffered, and provides penetrating insight on who's to blame.
This is an essential read for everyone who cares about the future of New Zealand and our values as a nation. Rebecca Macfie's writing on Pike River has been hailed for its veracity, perspicacity and powerful human interest.
Winner of NZSA E. H. McCormick Best First Book for Non-fiction 2014
Shortlisted for The New Zealand Post Book Award for Non-fiction 2014
Winner of the inaugural Bert Roth Award for Excellence in Labour History 2014
NZ POST BOOK AWARDS 2014 NZSA best first book Winner - 2014
'Investigative journalism at its very best' - Rod Oram
Rebecca Macfie is a senior writer with New Zealand Listener. She was previously a senior writer and deputy editor of The New Zealand Herald's Canvas magazine, editor and deputy editor of Unlimited magazine, and has written extensively for The Independent Business Weekly and National Business Review. She has 24 years' experience in journalism and has won many awards.