Pike River Mine disaster 2010

Where can I find information about the Pike River Mine disaster?

Entry last updated: 12/12/23


The explosion at Pike River Mine on 19 November 2010 killed 29 men. This was a major disaster for New Zealand in recent times. Two years later the Royal Commission of Inquiry began an investigation called the Pike River Coal Mine Tragedy.

It was only in May 2019 that the Pike River Recovery Agency were able to re-enter the mine to look for evidence of what caused the explosion.

New Zealand websites

There are several websites that have useful facts and information about the Pike River disaster.

NZ History

This is a great website for information about the history of New Zealand Aotearoa. If you scroll to the bottom of the page you can see that it belongs to Manatū Taonga - the Ministry for Culture & Heritage .

  • Enter search words 'Pike River' into the search bar.

  • Read the article, Pike River mine disaster.

  • You will also find here links to pictures and videos on the disaster as well as links to other New Zealand mining disasters.

Tips: We like sites like this because they’re reliable. You can tell because of their web address – they have either .govt or .ac, meaning they are from government or educational organisations. They’re also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us.

Tips: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Usually it’s better to leave out small words like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘of’ and just choose the main ones, eg [Pike River]. We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.

Pike River Recovery Agency

This government website allows you to explore all plans for men to renter the mine to investigate what went wrong and recover what ever they can.

  • Explore the tab News to read updates overtime from the Pike River Recovery Agency.

  • The tab Background has information about the tragedy, the history of the Pike river mine and a link to the Royal Commission of Inquiry.

  • Documents will take you to all official documents used and published on this case.

Tips: Many web pages have links to further information or to other recommended sites. Following these links is a great way to find out more about your topic.

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa.

  • Choose Stories A-Z to find the story on Coal and coal mining which covers the history of coal, coal mining and mining accidents in New Zealand.

  • In the same list look for Commissions of inquiry to read about the function, power and legal right of such commissions to investigate accidents such as the Pike River mine disaster.

Tips: We like sites that are from government or other reputable organisations, because we can trust the information. You can sometimes tell these sites by their web address – they might have .govt or .edu in their address – or by looking at their About us or Contact pages.

Christchurch City Libraries

Christchurch City Libraries is part of Christchurch City Council. It has a special page on events related to New Zealand's history.

  • Select the tab called Explore, then select History from the column called Subject guides.

  • Scroll down the page to Historic Events and select New Zealand disasters.

  • Find the link to Pike River Mine under Mining.

Tips: Websites that have .com in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link to find out what the Library's mission and values are.

Newspapers, magazines and documentaries

There are also sites that have newspaper and magazine articles, and documentaries about the Pike River mine. Some of these are from the time of the disaster (primary sources) and others have been written or made since then.

Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre

Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre is one of the EPIC resources, a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics. You may need a password from your school or local library to access it.

  • This database is a great resource for newspaper and magazine articles from New Zealand and Australia.

  • Search for 'Pike River' using the search box.

  • Choose the Full Text option from the side of the search results to see articles you can read online.

Tips: To use the EPIC resources you will need a login and password from your school librarian or you can login to AnyQuestions between 1 pm and 6 pm Monday to Friday and one of our librarians will help you online.


DigitalNZ is a search site that focuses on all things New Zealand. It connects you to reliable digital collections from a variety of content partners—libraries, museums, galleries, government departments, the media, community groups and others.

  • Type keywords 'Pike River' into the search box.

  • The tab called More has links to lots of newspaper A_rticles_ on the Pike River mine disaster, inquiry, recovery process and more, from Television New Zealand, Radio New Zealand and other media groups.

Tips: DigitalNZ has a range of media type to explore such as images, videos, audio, articles and research papers too. It also has search features like content partners, collection, usage and date to help you narrow down your searches.

NZ On Screen

This website includes films and documentaries that have appeared on New Zealand television.

  • Choose the Search icon and type in your keywords.

  • Watch Sunday - Daniel Rocks, an interview with one of the survivors of the disaster, and The Women of Pike River which is about the loss of lives and its impact on the wives and mothers of the miners.

Tips: Sometimes documentaries can be emotionally upsetting as they are based on true events. Please talk to an adult or senior person at home or school if you are upset by what you have seen.


There have been several books written about the Pike River disaster. Check your school or local library to see what they have.

Here are some recommended titles:

SCIS no: 1936748

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