Pike filming includes memorial crosses site

White crosses line the road to the Pike River Mine in tribute to the 29 workers who died in a...
White crosses line the road to the Pike River Mine in tribute to the 29 workers who died in a blast on November 19 in 2010. Photo: ODT files
Filming for the Pike River movie took in Blackball and Otira today, and will move to the mine site at Atarau later in the week.
The movie stars Emmy award-nominated New Zealand actress Melanie Lynksey, and is believed to also feature veteran Kiwi actress Robyn Malcolm, although the cast has been kept under wraps for now.

Film crews were based in Anzac Park last week, and later this week head to the Pike mine site, which is now looked after by the Department of Conservation.

DOC Greymouth operations manager Chris Hickford said today a crew was filming on public conservation land around the memorial crosses site and the old Pike River Mine main gates.

DOC received the filming permit application in early October and had worked on it together with the Pike River Families Working Group.

It currently had a large construction work programme under way in the Pike Valley in preparation for the opening of the Pike 29 Memorial Track on February 17, including repairing bridges on the access road.

"The film crew sought approval to access the administration buildings and portal area for filming. This would have complicated the bridge repair contract as some bridges would not have decking in place to enable vehicle access to cross given the size and number of people and vehicles the film crew proposed," Mr Hickford said.

DOC has subsequently given approval for filming of 'plate' (background) shots of the mine buildings and the portal area later this week.

"This filming will involve fewer people than the work being done at the memorial crosses and old Pike River gates so can be managed in such a way as not to conflict with the bridge repair contract."

The Greymouth Star understands some filming was done last weekend at Spring Creek mine instead.

On Friday, a block of Guinness St will be closed from 1pm to 6pm to allow for filming.

In the aftermath of the disaster, Guinness St was where families were told police would not lay a prosecution. Former prime minister Sir John Key also met with the families at the law offices in Guinness St, and legal work was done there during the Royal Commission.

Directed by Rob Sarkies, publicists say the film captures the impact on the community of one of the worst mining disasters in New Zealand history.

Written by Fiona Samuel, the story follows the aftermath  of the November 19, 2010 tragedy, and looks to tell the story of the Pike families who took on a 13-year battle for justice and accountability.