Dame Fiona Kidman calls on all New Zealand to support Pike protest
Dame Fiona Kidman has joined the protest against the sealing of the Pike River mine.
Some family members and supporters of the 2010 West Coast mining disaster victims have been protesting the mine being sealed at the access road since November 12.
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Kidman said the plans to permanently seal away remains and evidence was a travesty which should anger all New Zealanders.
"These families have stood bravely, now it's time for the rest of New Zealand to stand with them. That's why I'm going," she said.
"To stand with the families of the victims was very moving for me. Coming face to face with the pictures of the miners in that mine was a very emotional thing. It made me very angry and sad that for so long the families have been promised to bring the men out and it hasn't happened. I think the families have the right to honour and bury their dead and they are being denied it and it's difficult to see why," she said.
She said there was a large police presence at the peaceful protest.
"They should be investigating what happened in the mine not keeping people away from their families," she said.
"I want to ask John Key what he would like his legacy to be. If keeps his promise to do everything he can to bring the men out he will be a hero," she said.
Kidman is Dame Commander of the New Zealand Order of Merit, recipient of the OBE for services to literature, Montana New Zealand Book Awards winner and Creative New Zealand Michael King Fellow.
Solid Energy is sealing the mine with a 20-metre thick concrete wall to allow the area to be returned to the Department of Conservation for inclusion in the Paparoa National Park. The families say international experts and Mines Rescue say it is safe to enter the drift – a 2.5km tunnel leading into the mine.