Tragedy at Pike River Mine: How and Why 29 Men Died (Paperback)

Tragedy at Pike River Mine: How and Why 29 Men Died By Rebecca Macfie, BA Cover Image
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New Zealand Post Book Award, Best First Book, Non-fiction

On a sunny afternoon in November 2010, a massive explosion rocked the underground Pike River coal mine, deep in a mountain range in New Zealand’s South Island. More than an hour and a half later, two ashen men stumbled from the mine’s entrance to report that 29 men remained trapped inside. Samples revealed extremely high levels of carbon monoxide in the mine and the presence of fire. For five agonizing days the men’s families and friends waited and prayed until, after a second violent blast, all hope was extinguished. Tragedy at Pike River Mine is a dramatic, suspenseful account of a disaster that shook the nation—and the world. Pike River was no ordinary mine. It had been touted by the company and by government ministers as a showcase of modern mining. Shares in the company had been rapidly taken up by investors, swept away by predictions of extraordinary returns. Beneath the hype, though, lay mismanagement, mistakes and willful blindness that would cost men their lives. Based on extensive research and more than a hundred interviews, this powerful book provides chilling insights into the causes of the tragedy and puts a human face on the people who suffered.

About the Author

Rebecca Macfie has been a senior writer for New Zealand Listener, senior writer and deputy editor for Canvas magazine, editor and deputy editor for Unlimited magazine, and has written extensively for Independent Business Weekly and National Business Review. She has nearly 30 years’ experience in journalism and has won numerous awards. She is currently writing a biography of Helen Kelly, the first woman to head New Zealand's Council of Trade Unions.

Praise For…

“Rebecca Macfie lays bare the pattern of promise and betrayal that doomed Pike River coal mine to disaster and 29 men to their deaths. Her spare, forceful narrative will leave readers far wiser and deeply outraged. . . . Investigative journalism at its very best.”  —Rod Oram, columnist, Sunday Star-Times

“Absorbing and heart-wrenching, this compelling book exposes corporate and regulatory failures of which all New Zealanders should be aware and ashamed.”  —Fiona Rotherham, Fairfax BusinessDay

"Macfie . . . gets to the heart of a complex and detailed story without losing or confusing her audience . . . Lucid, exhaustive, enraging." —Guy Somerset, New Zealand Listener

"Credit is due to Rebecca Macfie for her book, Tragedy at Pike River Mine. The investigation makes compelling reading, and illustrates the power of journalism in book form." —John Drinnan, New Zealand Herald

"This is the best sort of journalism – methodical, well researched and dispassionate. But you can feel its cold anger." —Nicholas Reid, Reid's Reader

"If you've already read accolades for this book, they're all deserved, and then some. Macfie digs through a mountain of information to deliver a compelling account of what went wrong at Pike River." —Jim Eagles and Mark Fryer, Weekend Herald

Product Details
ISBN: 9781877551901
ISBN-10: 1877551902
Publisher: Awa Press
Publication Date: July 1st, 2014
Pages: 324
Language: English