On 19 November 2010, the first of a number of explosions occured at the Pike River coal mine. Twenty-nine men were trapped in the tunnel. Nominated for Best Documentary at the 2017 NZ TV Awards, The Women of Pike River explored the lives of six of those left behind, who were wives and mothers of the miners. The disaster was NZ's worst single loss of life since the 1979 Erebus crash — until the 2011 Christchurch quake four months later. Despite assurances survivors would be rescued and the dead retrieved, new owners Solid Energy said the mine was too dangerous to re-enter.
This collection looks at some of New Zealand's most significant national tragedies. Spanning 150+ years, it tells stories of drama, caution, hope and recovery — from the 1863 wreck of the Orpheus at Manukau Heads, to Tarawera, the Wahine, Erebus, Pike River and Christchurch. In the backgrounder, Jock Phillips writes about the collection, and the "common sequence" to disaster.
In November 2010, 29 miners died in the Pike River disaster. In 2014 Wellington’s Orpheus Choir invited singer Dave Dobbyn to compose a musical tribute to the victims. Dreams Lie Deeper followed Dobbyn to Greymouth to meet with mourning families, and visit the mine. This excerpt shows the premiere of Dobbyn's song ‘This Love’ in Wellington on 10 May 2014, to a standing ovation. The film screened on TV One on the fourth anniversary of the disaster. Sunday Star Times critic Grant Smithies called it “one hell of a documentary. Raw, touching and blessedly unsentimental.”
This Sunday item is based on an interview with Daniel Rockhouse, one of two survivors of the Pike River mine disaster. The interview screened on 27 March 2011, less than five months after the November 2010 tragedy, when a series of methane gas explosions resulted in the deaths of 29 of Rockhouse's workmates, including his brother. Deafened and stunned, Rockhouse dragged workmate Russell Smith a kilometre through noxious gas to safety. Here the reluctant hero, cradling a newborn daughter, reflects on the events. In 2015 Rockhouse was awarded the NZ Bravery Medal.
Campbell Live was Three's flagship current affairs programme for a decade. Despite a public campaign to save it, the show ended on 29 May 2015. This final episode presents a greatest hits reel. Alongside acclaimed reporting (Novopay, the Pike River mine disaster and collapse of Solid Energy, the 2011 Christchurch Earthquake) there are campaigns for healthy school lunches, and to get the All Blacks to play in Samoa; plus marvellous moments like the 2011 Rugby World Cup final. An emotional John Campbell tautokos his team, and signs off: "Ka kite anō and a very good evening indeed."
Television producer Gavin Wood has worked on some of New Zealand’s biggest game shows and live events. His first producing role saw him bring Sale of the Century to our screens, which was soon joined by Wheel of Fortune. His career path led him from TVNZ to TV3, then offshore working for FremantleMedia. Returning to New Zealand, Wood turned his producing talents to the third season of New Zealand Idol, TV coverage of the state funeral of Sir Paul Reeves, and the Pike River and Christchurch earthquake memorial services.
Peter Williams has had a distinguished career as a sports broadcaster and newsreader. He began his broadcasting career in radio while still in his teens, then joined TVNZ as a sports reporter and commentator in 1979. He went on to present major events such as the Olympic Games and the Rugby World Cup. Since the 90s Williams has read the news on TV ONE’s Breakfast, and on primetime weekend bulletins.
Producer Tash Christie's screen credits span from motorway patrols to outsider art. Now working at company Greenstone TV, Christie has produced documentaries The Women of Pike River and Qantas award-winner A Good Way to Die? (alongside her partner Dan Salmon). She has also worked on a run of primetime documentary and reality shows, from Neighbours at War to The Big Ward.
After working his way up through the ranks of TVNZ in the 80s, producer Gavin Wood travelled the world to work on reality game shows across 10 countries. Alongside work on the local versions of popular game shows such as Wheel of Fortune, he produced live coverage of the 2011 Rugby World Cup opening ceremony on the Auckland waterfront — which went live to 1.5 billion people worldwide.
Veteran presenter Peter Williams has been working continuously in broadcasting ever since starting in radio as a teen. In 1979 he joined TV One as a sports show host and commentator, and went on to present from the Olympics and the Rugby World Cup. In the mid 90s the longtime cricket fan began a move into news; these days he reads the news on Breakfast and for primetime weekend bulletins on TV One.