Pike River protest stalwarts spend 29 nights sleeping in their 4WD

Dave and Marilyn Corson have been camping out at the Pike River memorial.
Joanne Carroll

Dave and Marilyn Corson have been camping out at the Pike River memorial.

A couple has spent 39 days at the Pike River protest, including 29 nights sleeping in their 4WD. 

Marilyn and Dave Corson, from Cronadun just outside of Reefton, have been at the Pike River mine access road since the protest started on November 12. 

They have become known as "Camp Mum and Dad" — providing catering for protesters at the early morning vigil on the Pike River Mine access road. 

The Corsons have been providing catering for the Pike River protesters.

The Corsons have been providing catering for the Pike River protesters.

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Marilyn Corson, 65, said the couple were good friends with Milton Osborne who died in the November 2010 disaster. 

Osborne's wife, Anna Osborne, began the protest to ask the Government to reconsider sealing the mine until the entrance tunnel was explored. Other Pike River family members and supporters joined the protest, which has involved a trip to Parliament to present a new plan from international experts who say it is safe to enter. 

Corson said she wanted to support Osborne and the other families in their fight against the mine being sealed. 

"I called Anna and asked her what I could do to help. She had so much going on I just said we would do all the catering for the protesters and it would be one less thing for them to worry about and it's just carried on," she said. 

The couple slept outside the memorial to monitor the road to make sure no heavy trucks passed or concrete was being brought into the mine. 

"We slept in our 4WD for 29 nights with our dog. Then somebody asked around for a caravan and it just turned up. We really appreciate that. We've had no power, no TV, no internet but if I had to do it all again I would," she said. 

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The couple had endured thunderstorms and the Kaikoura earthquake since their vigil began. 

Each day about 6.30am they have been joined by up to 100 supporters to protest against Solid Energy and the Government's decision not to allow mines rescue to explore the drift. The families occupied part of the road but have allowed Solid Energy staff to pass through to monitor the site. 

"We set up a barbecue and put on tea and coffee. We have a gas cooker. It's been so overwhelming and would like to thank everyone very much for all the donations. People have been coming with meat, baking and petrol vouchers. It has meant so much," she said. 

The couple are going home for Christmas as Solid Energy has told the protesters they will not be accessing the mine from December 24-30. 

"We'll be back. I've always said to the families we are here for them and we will be. The families need to be listened to and need to get in there. The families won't get closure until something is done. It's long overdue," she said. 



 - Stuff


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