On 26 March 1896, an explosion in the Brunner Mine on the West Coast caused the deaths of 65 men and boys. The disaster remains New Zealand’s worst workplace accident. Paul Gittins visits the site, and there are reenactments of what happened and why the explosion occurred. Particular attention is given to the theory of gas build up due to inadequate ventilation, and the Royal Commission’s finding that a misplaced explosive was to blame. Local mine expert Brian Wood adds his conclusions about the cause, the politics involved, and the ramifications for the tightknit Coaster community.
It was due to gas, and that gas was there due to inadequate ventilation. And if it was due to inadequate ventilation the management were culpable, and the company was being negligent.– Brunner Mine disaster expert Brian Wood explains his theory about the cause of the explosion
Made with funding from NZ On Air