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Bali bombings: Kiwi survivor reflects, 20 years on

Daniel Whiston interviewed by 1News in Bali after the bombing (2002).

It was meant to be a holiday haven for tourists, but in 2002 Kuta, Bali became “hell on earth”.


Three explosions killed 202 people, including three New Zealanders, 88 Australians and seven Americans.

The first blast was centred on the popular Irish bar, Paddy’s Pub.

One of those who’d been drinking there was New Zealander Daniel Whiston.

“I was at the front with my friends and there was an almighty explosion that sort of came from that back end of Paddy’s that was quite a significant blast."

He told 1News that he and his friends initially thought it was a gas cooker explosion.

“(It) created fire and, you know, damage and people were just sort of running, screaming out towards the road frontage.”

Moments later, the second bomb would be detonated.

“That was a significant explosion that sort of picked me up and ended up on the road,” said Whiston.

“What I saw in those brief moments coming around, it's pretty disturbing to say the least.”

Whiston was lying alongside Mark Parker, a fellow New Zealander who’d been getting ready to return home.

Parker had sustained extensive injuries in the explosion and would later die.

“I was sort of alongside him for quite a while and sort of administered aid to as many people as I could."

Daniel says even 20 years on he’s still processing the tragedy but says the support of his work colleagues and his late father has been "incredible".

“So really, it's a message from me, of one of for anyone out there that's stuck in a sort of state of grief and trying to get through there is a way through it encourages a choice, but you can get through these things and put your hand up, you know, talking about it and acknowledging what's going on is a good place to start I think.

“Do the things that you've always enjoyed doing and if you haven't done something that brings you joy and enjoyment, and maybe challenge yourself to get out there and do that.”

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