• Patrick McBride

Cave Creek disaster

Today marks 25 years of the Cave Creek disaster. Many Coasters will remember that fateful day.

The Cave Creek disaster occurred on 28 April 1995 when a scenic viewing platform in the Paparoa National Park North of Greymouth, collapsed, resulting in the deaths of 14 people. The victims, 13 of whom were Polytechnic students, fell 40 metres (130 ft) onto rocks below. The tragedy resulted in wide criticism of the government and its policies towards funding and management of the conservation estate. Denis Marshall, New Zealand's Minister of Conservation, eventually resigned, after the Commission of Inquiry's report came out.

It also resulted in major changes to procedures used by DOC after it was revealed that serious systemic failures had led to the building of the unstable platform. Eventual changes in New Zealand Law, following a change of government, allowed for government departments to be held criminally liable for inadequate building practices, in the same way as non-government organisations.