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Hero image for Strongman - The Tragedy

Strongman - The Tragedy

Television (Trailer and Excerpts) – 2012

Winner of Best Documentary at the 2012 NZ Film and TV Awards, this docudrama mixes interviews, archival footage and drama to depict a tragic gas explosion at the Strongman coal mine. Nineteen miners died at the West Coast site in January 1967. Thanks to the quick actions of fellow workers most of the bodies were retrieved the same day. In this short excerpt, survivors of the tragedy and their family members discuss the lead-up to the incident, intercut with a recreation of the day in 1967. First-time director Paula McTaggart's uncle Ronnie Gibb was the first rescuer to enter the mine after the explosion.

There was a Catholic priest and he wanted to speak to me alone. He asked me if I'd said my prayers, and I said no, I hadn't, so we said some prayers and then he told me, and I called him a lying bastard. That's something I'll never forget. Childhood was over, really.
– The son of a miner killed at Strongman remembers how he heard the news

Key Cast & Crew

Profile image for Gaylene Preston

Gaylene Preston

Director - Dramatic Sequences, Writer, Executive Producer

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Simon Coldrick

Post-Production Director, Editor, Second Unit Director- Dramatic Sequences

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Paula McTaggart

Director - Documentary, Producer, Story, Research

Generic Profile image for Russell Pickering

Russell Pickering

As: Terry Crowley

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Mani Weir

As: Gary Coghlan

Generic Profile image for Stephen Handisides

Stephen Handisides

As: Ginty Newcombe

See all 46 credits

Produced by

A Bigger Picture Ltd


A Bigger Picture Ltd