Key speech at Pike River memorial service

December 2nd, 2010 at 4:15 pm by David Farrar

Thanks to the media for tweeting the speech – was nice to be able to follow it despite no TV access.

The full speech is here. I found it very moving, as I did the other speeches also. A couple of extracts that stick with me:

But, as the hours passed, we had to start thinking the unthinkable. These 29 strong, fit, men, who were all sons, and who were also fathers, husbands, and brothers, were not going to walk out of that mine.

And so we prayed that when death came to them, as it will come to all of us, they did not suffer.

And:

And I’d like to say something personal to the families of the lost miners, and in particular to those mothers of children who have so cruelly lost their fathers.

Amongst all your other emotions and pain there may be fear for your children growing up without the father who loved them.

Because I was such a child, I know that the absence of a parent is a heaviness you learn to carry in your own way.

It is a terrible thing to happen. But it doesn’t mean your children will not go on to live happy, worthwhile and fulfilling lives and, in time, experience joyfulness and love in new families, yet to be created.

Finally:

In the streets of Greymouth, and all along the Coast, the intensity of this loss has weighed heavily on every heart.

But the human spirit is resilient, and people are by nature, hopeful.

I hope the knowledge of the nation’s support helps you through.

Your men were our men. And even if many of us know them only as names, and faces and stories, their deaths touched our lives, and we will remember them.

May they rest in peace.

And may us never forget them.

Tags: ,

21 Responses to “Key speech at Pike River memorial service”

  1. Chthoniid (1,966 comments) says:

    Yes, I found the reference to his own fatherless youth and the legacy generated in the mens’ families to be particularly moving. Not really an insight or gesture of empathy I expected.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. IHStewart (388 comments) says:

    It was a very moving speech I think that he

    “Sadly, we came to know of them too late.
    I am proud to lead a country whose people care so much about each other.”

    So very well said.

    Thankyou John

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. Shunda barunda (2,964 comments) says:

    Just got back from the memorial service (not used to gridlock on the Coast), everything went very well on this sad, but beautiful, fine West Coast day.
    John Key would have to be the most ‘Coaster’ friendly Prime minister we have had for a long time.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. Nicola Wood (57 comments) says:

    It was a great speech. I got a little teary in the second part you quote.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. RRM (8,994 comments) says:

    Well said that man.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. Muerk (6 comments) says:

    Shunda – I was there with my family too. It was a wonderful service and I was impressed by how openly Christian it was. And yes, our kids had never seen traffic jams since they were babies. They didn’t understand why the cars weren’t moving.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. Pete George (21,826 comments) says:

    John Key would have to be the most ‘Coaster’ friendly Prime minister we have had for a long time.

    He’s the most “ordinary New Zealander” friendly Prime Minister I’ve seen, by a long shot. Seems like a genuine guy, not too full of himself in his position. Sure you can criticise and quibble about anyone if you want to but he can relate to people well.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. Atheist1 (174 comments) says:

    Big Ups to John Key from this leftie. That speech was beautiful, especially the bit about losing his own father.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. noodle (151 comments) says:

    How many deaths, all at once, does it take for a country to “go into mourning’? 4,5,10,15 or more? We know that public flagelation doesn’t happen for just a few, yet the suffering of each bereaved family , particularly if their loved one was lost unexpectedly or suddenly,is the same. Isn’t it? I have deep sympathy for each family who lost a miner at Pike River.
    Years ago, I lost a brother who fell down a crater lake at Ruapehu but the news of his death, in the media, was immediately cancelled by the almost simultaneous death of, from memory, 5 climbers who met a similar fate. Their death was interesting. Just saying.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. TripeWryter (715 comments) says:

    Muerk:
    It has also struck me how ‘Christian’ it was. The Anglican vicar made no apology for who he was, or what he believed.

    I thought several times as I watched — and it might have been petty and unfair of me to think it — that if the Labour government had been running the show it might have been more secular, and ‘inclusive’, and more encouraging of ‘diversity’.

    As an ex-Catholic, I have been intrigued, too, to see how visible and lively the Anglican vicars have been in this. It’s almost as if they’ve grabbed the religious reins and made the response their own. Don’t know if it will boost their Sunday attendances. I have family connections to the Coast, married a Catholic girl from there, and I always thought there was a strong Catholic element there. But Rome’s priests were almost invisible compared with their Anglican counterparts.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. JustRight (31 comments) says:

    A simply stunning speech. It captured the essence of how we hoped for a miracle. His empathy, based on his own Fatherless childhood is real. You can’t fake that stuff.

    Whether you agree with his politics, his centrist approach yadda yadda you have to see his basic humanity & goodness. You can’t fake a common touch – either got it or not. He has it is spades. Great speech John!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. Muerk (6 comments) says:

    - TripeWryter: I think part of it now is that the Catholic priests are a lot more elderly than the Anglican ministers.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. AndyC (28 comments) says:

    I was listening to National on the way home and in one of their bit parts they played back the speach as per..

    “Amongst all your other emotions and pain there may be fear for your children growing up without the father who loved them. Because I was such a child, I know that the absence of a parent is a heaviness you learn to carry in your own way.”

    but on the 6pm news it was

    “Amongst all your other emotions and pain there may be fear for your children growing up without the father who loved them. I know that the absence of a parent is a heaviness you learn to carry in your own way.”

    The words ” Because I was such a child” were cut out. Now why would they cut out those words. Its just annoying that some idiot cant leave alone.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. BeaB (1,958 comments) says:

    John Key is a man of genuine empathy – and today, perfect eloquence. He does all this well because he means it.
    Aren’t we lucky to have a true leader!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. Rich Prick (1,323 comments) says:

    I must admit, even I too lost a tear or more, so thanks John if you happen to read this.

    AndyC, that would be because National Radio is anti-National, and as such, can’t stand the thought of a PM who connects so well with people, unlike Clark who thought nothing of West Coasters … “feral inbreads”, were her words afterall.

    Notwithstanding Helen Clark’s views on West Coasters, despite it being the “home” of Labour, I don’t want to politicise this thread.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. Rich Prick (1,323 comments) says:

    Edit: not National Radio, One News and TV3. Oh, OK National Radio too.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. Inventory2 (9,791 comments) says:

    Shortly after the service I heard Mitch Harris on RadioLive describe it as the best speech that John Key has ever made. I would go further; I doubt that he will make a better speech in his public lifetime.

    It was an incredibly moving service. The singing of How Great Thou Art and the reading of the names had my eyes tingling. The lament played by the piper at the end, and the close-up shots of the tables, especially those with photos of fatherless children had this cynical old bugger in tears. And Rev. Tim Mora’s address was absolutely spot-on.

    It was a day which I hope I never have cause to witness again, but also a day when we can all be proud to be New Zealanders.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. kiwi in america (2,336 comments) says:

    Ive only just now watched the service. It was awesome! I too appreciated the religious overtones and the messages of hope. Having spoken at my mothers funeral, giving these speeches is very very hard emotional work. Tony Kokshoorn is not one you would consider an eloquent speaker but I loved his reference to the rainforests now weeping and the angels in the coalmine – beautifully eloquent.

    John Key’s speech was fantastic. Just the right length and delivered with sincerity and gravitas. I loved his reference to the reality that, inspite of the bullying of the secular elites who drive religion from the public stage, we all were praying for these men, their families and their would be rescuers. His reference to his own loss of his father was both poignent and hopeful. He linked the courage of the Coasters to the great battles that Kiwi men fought overseas but also linked all of NZ to the grief of the families (your men are our men). Finally he ended with hope that the remaining children would find joyfulness and love in forging a living legacy of the dead miners. When he said he was proud to lead a country with such compassionate people – he really meant it. These things cannot be faked and thankfully we have a PM who can truly speak what is in all our hearts.

    May these good men rest in peace and may God grant comfort and peace to their grieving families.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    and may we never have another PM who thinks it is acceptable to call any NZers ”feral inbreds”..at a time like this or anytime..
    I really loved the service..the coasters had done so much organizing in such trying circumstances..loved the woman singing..You’ll never walk alone..and John Key’s speech..plus Peter Whittal blessing himself..the Catholic presence , humble and real..

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. Shunda barunda (2,964 comments) says:

    I liked how Tim Mora referred to this as an accident, not fate, or ‘their time was up’ and how he related it to the realities of the laws of the material world we live in.
    I know Tim quite well and he is fiercely opposed to young earth creation and other strange Christian ideas, at a time like this it really enables him to connect with reality a bit better than most I feel.
    A service like this goes a long way to bringing healing to a small community like ours, it sets the tone, and I think many of us have walked away with a feeling of hope and optimism.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. wf (319 comments) says:

    What you all say . . . .

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.