Tribute to the Pike River Men

Many commercial fishermen have close and personal ties to the West Coast South Island community and there is no doubt that many in our fishing ranks will have relatives and friends amongst those that have not come home. The Federation of Commercial Fishermen on behalf of our members wish to extend our sincere sympathy and support to the West Coast community following this massive tragedy.Our thoughts go out to the families and friends that have saddly lost loved ones.

Dave McIntosh, past Federation Executive member and liaison office has contributed the poem below that has been written by Sean Plunket as a tribute to those who have so saddly and suddenly lost their lives:

 

THE MEN OF PIKE

 

They came from near and far away

The men of Pike to work that day

The afternoon shift way down deep

Beneath the mountains oh so steep

A long way in but further out

The afternoon shift sets about

A job not flash but hard and trying

A job that holds the risk of dying

 

From seventeen to sixty two

They start their shift to see it through

For one his first, for all their last

How could they know there’d be a blast?

For all at once no siren whining

Suddenly the worst in mining

Dust and rubble fill the air

A loader driver thrown clear

Just one other finds the light

The rest are hidden from our sight

 

And so we learn as news is spread

The news that mining families dread

It’s up at Pike there’s an explosion

Faces drop and hearts are frozen

Who, how many, where and why ----

Will they make it ---- will they die

 

Fathers, husbands, brothers, sons

Coasters, Kiwis, Aussies, Poms

Mates and friends who we are seeking

Methane gas from coal seams leaking

Vents exploded, phones unheeded

Level heads and strength are needed

The world above unites as one

To bring the missing to the sun

 

Rescue teams are standing by

As holes are drilled and experts try

To find a way that’s safe and sound

To rescue those beneath the ground

Could robots work where men are mortal

To pierce the dangers of that portal

But alas all effort fails

The darkness of the mine prevails

 

A second blast of rock and thunder

Hope and prayers are rent asunder

A nation weeps and Coasters mourn

Pike falls silent, dark, forlorn

A hole remains within the ground

Devoid of joy, of life, of sound

 

Another hole within the heart

Of those forever set apart

From those they loved who went to toil

Digging coal beneath the soil

Those who gave their lives that day

To work a shift for honest pay

They wait at rest within their mine

The men of Pike, the Twenty Nine

 

Sean Plunket

In a recent message to all RSA's around NZ the National President of the Royal NZ Returned and Services Association Lt. General Don McIver gave a tribute to the men of Pike River by quoting the Ode to the Fallen from Binyon's Lines:

 

They shall grow not old,

As we that are left grow old.

Age shall not wary them,

Nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun,

And in the morning.

WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

 

These strong words of remembrance are usually only heard on occasions such as ANZAC Day, Armistice Day and at the funerals of soldiers but they are very fitting and appropriate on this ocassion in paying tribute to 29 brave and special men who have lost their lives.

LEST WE FORGET