On 19 November 2010, there was an explosion at the Pike River coal mine 45 minutes inland of Greymouth on the South Island’s West Coast. Twenty-nine men did not go home from work that day. The impacts of the tragedy have reverberated throughout New Zealand ever since and affected the lives of many people. Following a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Pike River, changes were made in New Zealand’s Health and Safety legislation. The Pike River Recovery Agency was established on 31 January 2018 to conduct a manned recovery of the mine drift (tunnel) in order to:
- Gather evidence to better understand what happened in 2010 with an eye to preventing future mining tragedies and promoting accountability for this mining tragedy;
- Give the Pike River families and victims overdue closure and peace of mind; and
- Recover remains where possible.
The work of the Agency is underpinned by three key principles – Close partnership with the Pike River families, Transparency and openness, and Health and Safety comes first.
Dave Gawn will talk about the work of the Agency and provide his perspective on Pike River as well as drawing on his 35 years of military experience. The lessons from Pike River are enduring and still as applicable today. Health and Safety is the responsibility of everyone including board members, managers and workers.
Date: Wednesday 16 October 2019
Time: 9am – 11.30am
Venue: Auckland Townhall, Queen St, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010
Ticket pricing: RiskNZ Members – $10.00 ex GST | Non-members – $30.00 ex GST
About the Speaker
Dave Gawn is Chief Executive of Te Kāhui Whakamana Rua Tekau mā Iwa – Pike River Recovery Agency. He leads a small professional team based at the Greymouth office and mine site with the objective of conducting a safe manned recovery of the mine drift. Dave is accountable to the Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-Entry Andrew Little and works in partnership with the Family Reference Group. The Agency was established as a stand-alone government department on 31 January 2018 and will be disestablished once the Pike River mine site has been rehabilitated and returned to the Department of Conservation.
Dave has enjoyed a distinguished military career spanning 40 years, starting with his enlistment in 1979 and culminating in his appointment as Chief of the New Zealand Army in 2013-15. Prior to that Dave was Commander Joint Forces New Zealand (2011 to 2013) and Land Commander New Zealand Army (2007 to 2010). In 2016-2017 he was based in Israel as Head of Mission and Chief of Staff, United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO), overseeing peace-keeping operations for the five signatories of the 1949 Armistice Agreement.
He holds a Master of Strategic Studies from Deakin University in Australia.