Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


On Saturday 15th May the Brunner Mine site was opened celebrating the developments that have been completed over the last few years.

Date:  25 May 2010

On Saturday 15 May the Brunner Mine site was opened celebrating the developments that have been completed over the last few years. During that time the site has been upgraded, significantly improving the historic site.

The Brunner Disaster Memorial. Photo: Jean Nodwell.
The Brunner Disaster Memorial

The Brunner mine site is home to the worst industrial mine disasters in New Zealand history. On the 26th March 1896 at 9.30 am an explosion occurred in the mine and resulted in the death of 65 men and boys. This mine is important to the West Coast’s history, as the mining industry is a big part of the economy today, as it was back in the 1800’s.

Over the last few years DOC, in conjunction with the Historic Places Trust, Tourism NZ, and the Brunner Industrial Mine Site Committee have redeveloped the site. The new facilities completed in the past two years include:

  • car park facilities on State Highway 7
  • a 1km walking track
  • two architecturally designed visitor information shelters
  • newly produced visitor information, self guide brochure and audio story
  • re-installation of historic rail connections and viewing areas, landscaping and fencing.

Currently the building of a toilet block is under way which will then complete the redevelopment of the site.

The Minister of Conservation, Kate Wilkinson Kate Wilkinson with a group of school children who dressed up for the day. Photo: Jean Nodwell.
The Minister of Conservation with school children who dressed up for the day

The opening was a successful day with sunny weather despite the weather forecast. Our Minister of Conservation, Kate Wilkinson, attended the ceremonies alongside West Coast MP Chris Auchinvole and the Mayor of the Grey District, Tony Kokshoorn. Beril Macilquham, the descendant of a miner killed in the 1896 mine explosion, was another important guest.

The ceremony began with a karakia and mihi performed by the local Ngati waewae representative Ben Hutana and a waiata by the local Greymouth High School students. Tours ran all day and our guides included local historian Brian Wood and children from Paparoa Range School.

Entertainment was provided by local schools and bands. The official ceremony began with a speech from Honorary Kate Wilkinson followed by Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn, NZ Historic Places Trust Priscilla Pitts and Shane Hall, Area Manager. A minute silence and the laying of wreaths ended the official ceremony and the party continued with the Coalrangers providing music and the food stalls keeping everyone well fed.

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