New Zealand Announces Pike29 Memorial Track

New hiking path to honor victims of 2010 mining disaster.
By Jackson Rinehart ,

The New Zealand flag flies at half mast on the Executive Wing of Parliament to mark the official memorial service for the 29 miners on 2 December 2010. (Photo by Alexander T Carroll/Flickr)

A new 28-mile walk from Blackball to Punakiaki will be constructed as a memorial for the 29 men killed in the 2010 Pike River Mine disaster in New Zealand, the country's government announced on Sunday.

Nick Smith, New Zealand's minister for the environment, said that the memorial would both bring tourism and ensure that the resting place would be preserved by future generations.

The Pike29 Memorial Track will cost $10 million and will extend Paparoa National Park by 9,812 acres to include the Pike River site. It will include a 5-mile track to the Pike River mine, an information center and memorial, and 20-bed huts for overnight stays. New Zealand hopes to complete the track by the end of 2018.

The Pike River disaster occurred on November 19, 2010, when an explosion sealed off the entrance to the mine while releasing deadly amounts of methane inside. Three more explosions occurred over the next nine days, complicating and ultimately scuttling attempts to retrieve the victims' bodies.

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