Don’t play blame game: mother of Pike River baby

The mother of the baby girl born to one of the Pike River miners trapped underground says there is not point in blaming people over the tragedy.

Rachelle Weaver, the partner of Josh Ufer, gave birth to Erika Millicent Ufer in May.

She is not even two months old, but has been going along with her mother to the Royal Commission of Inquiry each day, where evidence is discussed about the cause of the explosions that killed 29 men in November, including the father she will never get to meet.

Yesterday the former safety supervisor again shared his belief that the mine on New Zealand’s west coast was known to be unsafe.

But Weaver has told the New Zealand Herald while being at the inquiry is important to her, she does not see any benefit in laying blame.

"For me, to come out of the commission I would like to see improved health and safety standards … or similarities between here and Australia maybe," she told the Herald.

"There’s no point in pointing fingers [of blame] at anyone now, is there?

“What’s done is done. And we can only go forward from here."

The disparity in safety standards between Australia and New Zealand mines was something Ufer would discuss with colleagues but not with Weaver.

As an Australian, he has worked in both countries and had his own concerns about the standards.

"Obviously he didn’t want to scare me," Weaver said.

Weaver said she still "had her moments" following Ufer’s death.

"Usually at night.

“I live with a flatmate, so she gets a bit of stick every so often.

“She’s pretty handy as well when you’re sick of carrying Erika around, trying to burp her."

Weaver said she can see a lot of her partner in baby Erika and when she grows up she will teach her about her father.

"She’s got this crazy look on her face sometimes,” she said.

“She looks exactly like him."

"I’ve got lots of things that I have kept that were his – in a box.

And I have kept a diary of things that have happened since [November] and stuff that I remember prior.

So she will have that, and going over to visit his family in Australia."

Weaver said she is anticipating the inquiry will run into 2012.

"I said to my mum, the commission is actually going to go on longer than my relationship with Josh.

“It will be good to have it over and done with.

“And have the result … hopefully it’s a good result.”

Image: Rachelle Weaver with baby Erika; The New Zealand Herald

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