$6,000 raised overnight to honour the memory of Eramiha Pairama

By Jessica Tyson
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty
With five deaths already in 2016, forestry remains one of our most dangerous jobs.

More than $6000 has been raised overnight to honour the memory of Eramiha Pairama who was killed in 2013 when he was struck by a tree while working near Whakatāne.

The Council of Trade Unions yesterday launched a fundraising drive following revelations that his mother Selina Eruera was unable to pay for a headstone for her son, after the company he was working for liquidated and avoided reparations.

Eruera, from Ngāi Tuhoe and Te Whānau-a-Apanui, is currently working as a part-time nurse and first heard about the donations today.

"We've been struggling for justice for my boy for so long that it feels like it'll never come. The response to what has happened makes it feel like less of a lonely fight, she says.

“It's good to be reminded that there are still decent people out there. It gives me some hope."

Selina Eruera has been unable to pay for a headstone for her son, after the company he was working for liquidated and avoided reparations.

CTU Secretary Sam Huggard said the funds would not make up for the loss of Eramiha or the $75,000 the owners have refused to deliver, but he hoped it was a step towards justice.

"Eramiha’s death and his mother’s heartache was preventable. He was working in an unsafe environment without support and that’s why the judge ordered $75,000 family reparation plus a $25,000 fine," Mr Huggard says.

"But the financial suffering Selina has endured should also be preventable. The owners are still successfully trading under another company with no sign of meeting their obligation to her. Justice for people killed at work and their families shouldn’t rely on charity."

Eramiha Pairama was killed after being struck by a log attached to a harvest-line hauler. He was working alone and out of sight from his supervisor.

People who want to support Selina and her whanau are able to make a donation to Eramiha’s memory here.