2 Dec 2016

Dame Fiona Kidman challenges PM over Pike River

2:05 pm on 2 December 2016

One of New Zealand's most celebrated authors, Dame Fiona Kidman, has challenged Prime Minister John Key to do more to recover the remains of the 29 men killed in the Pike River mine disaster.

Protests were held at the entrance to the Pike River mine.

Families victims, and their supporters, hve been protesting outside the mine's gates. Photo: Supplied

Dame Fiona has joined the group attempting to stop the mine from being permanently sealed.

She said Mr Key should honour his commitment to bring the men home.

"I'm not here to make political points but what I am here is to say you made a promise here six years ago to get the men out and your legacy in this country ... can stand and fall, I think, by what happens here."

Dame Fiona Kidman

Dame Fiona Kidman Photo: Supplied

Dame Fiona said the families of the men should have the right to remember them in the way other families honoured their loved ones in cemeteries.

She said about 50 people were at the entrance to the mine this morning protesting against the plan to seal it.

One protestor, Tom Daly, said he was disappointed to see a truck owned by local company, Geotechnical, pass through the gates to the mine this morning.

He said it should not be assisting with sealing the mine when it was against the families' wishes.

A spokesperson for some of the families, Bernie Monk, has said they will continue protesting until the prime minister meets with them.

Mr Monk said as the government owned Solid Energy, which now owns the mine, Mr Key should take a more active role in the issue.

Experts said it was possible to get into the mine drift and the government should do more before giving up on recovering the men's remains.