Home' Greymouth Star : September 29th 2014 Contents www.greystar.co.nz
strikes it rich
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MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2014
Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
‘drought’ in rain
spreads to Maruia
The largest aerial 1080 poison drop
in the history of the Department
of Conser vation has spread to
the Maruia area. Greymouth
conservation ser vices manager Shane
Hall said today the latest drop would
cover up to 85,000ha in the Maruia
Valley, and Glenroy, Upper Grey and
Inangahua river catchments. Mr Hall
said monitoring in August showed
that rat levels had almost doubled in
the area between May and August,
from 37% to 67%. “Preliminary
estimates indicate rat densities of at
least six to nine rats per hectare in
the Maruia Valley pest control area
in August, which is half to three
quarters of a million rats. These
are predicted to increase and could
reach up to 20 rats per hectare by
November, if not stopped with pest
control,” Mr Hall said.
How do you add $20,000 of value
to your house? You clean it. That is
what one English property owner
has done. A visibly filthy three-
bedroom home in Birmingham, was
sold for $NZ237,439 in March after
being advertised on website Zoopla.
The pictures of the semi-detached
house included a kitchen with dirty
dishes piled on sinks and counter-
tops, floors stained and partially
hidden by rubbish, with mountains
of clothes heaped in every room.
Now the same house has been
c leaned and put back on the market
for $20,000 more, only six months
later. The house had been purchased
by a property developer who wanted
to renovate it but only got as far as
emptying all the rubbish out. —
Mostly fine, light winds
Eureka! Gold struck
Police hope that falling river levels
will improve their chances of finding
enthusiast swept away in a flooded
tributary of the Upper Grey River, on
Jeremy Brons, 24, was the navigator
in a four-wheel-drive trek that involved
crossing the Upper Grey River, a couple
of hundred metres away from Staircase
Creek, near Waipuna.
Mr Bron was in the lead of five vehicles
trying to cross the river, swollen by rain,
when his vehicle became stranded. As
water poured into the cab, everyone
climbed on to the roof but Mr Bron tied
a rope around himself to try to make it to
shore, but he was pulled under the water.
The Press reported that his companions,
from Canterbury 4x4 Events, cut the
rope when he failed to resurface, in the
hope of giving him a chance of being
washed to shore. However, land, water
and air searches have since failed to find
any trace of Mr Brons.
Search and rescue co-ordinator sergeant
Sean Judd said police would be reviewing
conditions this morning before making a
plan of action using a helicopter, jetboats
and possibly the police dive squad.
“ We have to look and make some plans
as to what we do next ... we need to look
at the best option and go from there,” Mr
Teams would be searching a fairly big
area of the Upper Grey River, between
where the incident happened and State
highway 7 south of Ikamatua.
He was hopeful the good weather had
improved the likelihood of finding Mr
“The river is dropping very rapidly,
every hour that goes by the river drops
a bit more and increases our chances of
success ... we want to get a result for the
family, we will try pretty hard over the
next couple of days to do that.”
Canterbury 4x4 Events president Ash
Sergeant, who was not on the expedition
to the West Coast, said Mr Brons’ main
role as a navigator had been as an extra
pair of eyes to look out for things the
driver might not see.
Mr Sergeant travelled to the site
yesterday. “ The river was not what I
would call excessively high, it was higher
than normal ... but that river river goes up
with the snap of a finger.”
He was unable to say whether the
conditions were safe to cross on Saturday,
during the torrential rain.
“I cant make a call on whether it was a
safe level, or not. They are all pretty well
experienced guys, they have all got years
of experience behind them, all got well
set up vehicles. I would say the call they
made would have been a well educated
He said it was more of a case of bad luck
than being foolish.
The NZCC West Coast Rescue
Helicopter was called into the initial
search on Saturday and flew the kayak
team in to the remote area.
Gold fever held Greymouth on
Saturday afternoon as more than
1000 people rushed Karoro beach
in a scene reminiscent of the
frenzy that first gripped the West
Coast 150 years ago.
The ‘big dig’ treasure hunt for
three 1oz nuggets of gold —
buried on the same beach where
the Watson brothers struck it rich
in 1864-65 — was a high point in
a weekend of celebrations to mark
the foundation of Greymouth.
On Friday, a commemorative
stone was unveiled near the
railway station, followed that
evening by a maritime memorial
ser vice at the Blaketown tiphead,
exactly 100 years after the sinking
of the Kairaki with the loss of 17
lives, and culminating last night
with a dazzling fireworks display
on the Greymouth waterfront.
Preparations for the gold dig
involved Mayor Tony Kokshoorn
and his wife Lynn, personally
hiding the gold prizes under the
cover of darkness on Friday night.
On Saturday, the skies opened
“right on cue” as the Black Powder
Gang from Reefton fired a
musket volley into the sky as the
signal for a wave of diggers armed
with menacing shovels rushed the
beach. Teeming rain did nothing
to deter the “frenzied” activity
of those bewitched by the gold
nuggets, valued at $1550 each.
“I know now what gold fever
would have been like in the 1860s
— when that gun went off there
was a stampede on to the beach,”
Mr Kokshoorn said today.
“All you could hear was the
clanging of shovels on rocks.
People were frantically digging.
It was sheer gold fever. You could
hardly even talk to people — they
By the end of the afternoon
all three golden prizes had been
discovered, although a large
number of the 150 canisters
containing vouchers for
consolation prizes eluded the
Last evening, crowds of people
lined the floodwall, while othes
watched from home, to view the
$9000 fireworks spectacular which
boomed into the night sky from
About 50 people turned out for
the Friday evening service at the
tiphead, where the bell tolled for
each of the vessels which have
come to grief on the Grey River
bar in the past 150 years.
Next on the Greymouth 150
calendar is a presentation by the
Mayor on the history of the town,
at the Grey District Library on
Wednesday at 5.30pm, and on
Saturday the West Coast Alpine
Club will lead an organised walk
at Greenstone, following in the
footsteps of the pioneer diggers to
the site of the first gold discovery
that sparked the West Coast
Water search for missing man
PICTURES: Stewart Nimmo
Top: backs bent, hundreds of ‘prospectors’ jostle for space on Karoro beach on Saturday, and above, last evening the town was treated to a fireworks spectacle on
the Greymouth waterfront.
Grey District Mayor Tony
Kokshoorn likened the “frenzy ”
of gold-fevered Coasters at the
150th gold dig on Karoro beach to
a scene from the film Braveheart,
where the Scottish chieftain rarks
up his troops ready for battle.
“I’m running up and down
in front of the them giving
instructions, and there were the
people, with their shovels, ready to
charge,” Mr Kokshoorn said.
When the starting shots fired,
“ if you were in the way, you would
have been stampeded to death”.
“Just like Braveheart, all you could
hear was the clanging of shovels
(against the stones). It never let up.
They kept digging and digging.”
Occasionally a yell of “bonanza”
would be heard above the din,
causing a visible pause before
people resumed their frenzied
After the call went up for the
third bonanza the crowd knew
their chances had gone.
Within 10 minutes the beach was
empty and apart from a solitary
man with his metal detector still
hunting forlornly the next day, it
was all over.
‘Scenes of Braveheart ’
DWC buys up
Part of rundown Richmond
Quay could be set for a “staged
redevelopment ” after Development
West Coast today announced it had
bought a freehold property on the
quay. Chairman John Sturgeon said
the site would create an opportunity
for a staged development which
could be an anchor project for the
Greymouth central business district,
while also opening up further
opportunities to revitalise the town.
Richmond Quay currently houses
the former R and N Trading Post,
old waterfront union building and
the closed Richmond Hotel. DWC
chief executive Joseph Thomas said
while the project was in the early
stages of development it could be
an exciting opportunity for the
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