Profiling six of the women directly affected, Mary Durham’s documentary provides fresh and painful insight into our worst modern industrial tragedy and its aftermath as a continuous chain of humanitarian failures.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2015
Featuring a Q+A with Mary Durham.
The Pike River Coal disaster of November 2010 persists as a fatal indictment of corporate relationships to labour in this country. This film celebrates six women who have honoured the men they lost there by fighting, for longer than any of them could have anticipated, for justice, accountability and re-entry into the mine’s drift to retrieve the bodies of their loved ones. As we meet each of them we learn about their husbands, partners, brothers and sons – and how many of those men knew that Pike River Coal was failing to meet the most basic work safety standards. When the inevitable occurred, haphazard communication with the families was the first in the relentless succession of humanitarian failures they have been subjected to: ‘I think this is good news’, a police officer assured families called together to hear the worst news of their lives. Two years in the making, the film gradually pulls back from their individual stories to reveal the women’s tireless political activity through successive defeats. ‘We have held our heads up and dealt with people and media with dignity and respect’, says spokeswoman Anna Osborne. This intensely moving film shows us exactly how that looks.