It has been with deep sadness that my wife Susan and I have learned of the fatalities following the explosions at the Pike River Mine.
We join all New Zealanders in extending our deep sympathy to the families, friends, colleagues and communities of the 29 men who lost their lives.
This is a disaster that will be felt at many levels. First and foremost, it is a great personal loss for the individual families and friends of those who died. The wider West Coast community will also feel keenly the loss of those they have known as friends, neighbours and workmates. There will be few on the West Coast who do not have a shared connection of some kind with those on whom this tragedy has impacted most directly.
Sadly the West Coast has had to face other tragedies in the past. The collective strength of the community will again be vital in facing this event, and in dealing with the enormous sense of grief that will be felt for many years to come.
It is also important to acknowledge the efforts of those involved in the search and rescue operation. Their commitment and dedication will be deeply appreciated.
To the families and people of the West Coast: may you all support each other, in the knowledge that the wider New Zealand community grieves alongside you.
My wife Susan and I offer our support to everyone affected by this tragedy.
Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand GNZM, QSO
Governor-General of New Zealand
For more information: please contact Rebekah Clement, Public Affairs Advisor, Government House on 021 243 7958