Nearly six months after his death, Pike River Coal miner Chris Duggan will be farewelled at a memorial service in Greymouth today.
Local media reports that up to 300 people are expected at the service, with his mother, Marianne Hogg, saying she needs “closure.”
"We’re going to have the memorial and then I’m going to step back from it. I’m not going to read the paper any more," she said yesterday.
Duggan has only been working underground at the mine for a few months before he was killed along with 28 of his colleagues on November 19.
He was initially unable to work at the coal mine due to a hearing problem, but doctors later allowed him to be employed there.
His elder brother Dan Duggan had also been employed at Pike River but was made redundant after the mine went into receivership.
His mother remembers a man who would liven the room up.”
"He just enjoyed life. He loved to laugh. His loss has left a big hole in our lives."
One balloon will be released in memory of the 29 men who died in the tragedy, but Duggan’s mother said his will be a different colour.
Duggan’s stepfather, Warren Hogg, said the family believed mine rescue staff should have entered the mine immediately after the first explosion.
"What’s the point of having mine rescue if they aren’t allowed to go in?" he said