9/11 “Singing policeman” consoles Pike River

Daniel Rodriguez, “the voice that consoled a nation” delivered a moving performance for the victims of the Pike River coal tragedy at the weekend.

Two months after the 29 men were killed in explosions that ripped through the underground coal mine, Rodriguez travelled to Greymouth, New Zealand to perform.

A survivor of the September 11 terrorist attacks, he became known as the “singing policeman” after performing at the funerals of friends and families of the victims.

Rodriguez said he hoped he would provide some relief to the small community who are still dealing with the impacts of the disaster.

"There’s something about music that speaks directly to the soul," he said.

The concert, held inside the Holy Trinity Church in Greymouth, was welcomed by the community.

"We’ve been through a lot of heartache in the last couple of months and it’s just so fitting that he who has consoled another country in their distress has come to give his gifts to us," Reverend Marg Teft said.

Rodriguez associated with the tragedy not only because he had suffered a similar event, but due to family ties in the area.

"My wife and her twin sister are Kiwis born in Dunedin. My daughter was actually born in Palmerston North and my in-laws are in Palmerston North, so I have a real closeness to New Zealand. We come here so often."

His wife and family joined Rodriguez on stage, and also brought along famous friends including Auckland singer and actress Lisa Chappell.

Teft says people are still recovering slowly following the disaster.

"People are walking through this, processing their pain, looking at in square in the eye, embracing it and moving on but there is still a long road ahead."

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