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Cave Creek: a national tragedy (A) 2004-2.1

7 April 2005



On Friday 28 April 1995, Department of Conservation (DOC) Chief Executive Bill Mansfield took an urgent phone call. It told him that one of the department’s viewing platforms on the West Coast of the South Island had collapsed. Details were unclear, but there had been injuries and probably deaths. Rescue efforts, reliant on helicopters at the remote site, were already underway. By the end of the day, Mansfield was on the Coast, ready to inspect the scene, and the first questions were being asked, why this tragedy had occurred. It was clear that there would need to be a full public inquiry and Mansfield himself had to decide whether or not to resign.

There are a number of important issues and questions raised in this graphic case study, including management and administration issues, leadership, and the question of accountability versus responsibility. Part A describes the contributing factors to the collapse and the findings of subsequent inquiries.

Authors: Janet Tyson
Published Date: 7 April 2005
Author Institution: ANZSOG
Content Length: 13