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Second anniversary of Pike River tragedy today

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New Zealand News | Monday November 19 2012 5:10

Second anniversary of Pike River tragedy today

Today marks the second anniversary of the Pike River Mine disaster.

The West Coast community will pay its respects to the 29 men killed.

Around 150 families members of the Pike River 29 will gather at the West Coast mine this afternoon, to mark the two year anniversary.

There are two services today to honour those who died.

A private family service will be held after midday, while a community event's being organised at the Blackball Workers' Museum from 6pm.

West Coast organiser Garth Elliott says flowers will be placed on a memorial.

"Just going to be remembering those that went to work that day, and never came home."

Neville Rockhouse lost his son Ben, and he says today's an emotional day.

"Just going back over the surreal nature of the last two years, and the incredible impact that it's had on the family and friends, and just everyone really. It's quite surreal."

Neville Rockhouse says family members will have a picnic together before heading up to the mine's entrance for the exact anniversary of the explosion, at 3.45pm.

CTU president Helen Kelly says the union is working with families to try to get the bodies out.

"We're supporting the families in their quest for justice, and they want the people involved - the boards of directors and other people criminally prosecuted, and we're working with them on that."

Helen Kelly says the CTU has to act because the government hasn't stuck by the families and hasn't kept its promises.

Photo: Pike River (Getty Images)

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