Home' Greymouth Star : October 31st 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Friday, October 31, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1517 - Martin Luther nails 95 theses on the
door at Wittenberg Palace church, marking
beginning of the Reformation in Germany.
1731 - Expulsion of Protestants from
Salzburg, Austria, begins.
1888 - John Boyd Dunlop patents his
pneumatic bicycle tyre.
1917 - In the third battle of Gaza
in World War One, Australians and
New Zealanders capture Beersheba
from the Turks.
1926 - Magician Harry Houdini
dies in Detroit of gangrene and
peritonitis resulting from a ruptured
1940 - Battle of Britain in World War Two is
officially designated to have ended.
1961 - A cloud of radioactive debris moves
across central Siberia after Soviets explode
what is called the biggest man-made nuclear
1963 - Britain suspends aid to Indonesia.
1979 - Some 75 people are killed when a
DC-10 crashes after landing on the wrong
runway at Mexico City’s airport.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Jan Vermeer, Dutch artist (1632-1675);
John Keats, British poet (1795-1821); Chiang
Kai-shek, President of Nationalist China
(1887-1975); Norodom Sihanouk, Cambodian
king (1922-2012); Barbara Bel
Geddes, US actress (1922-2005);
Eddie Charlton, Australian snooker
champion (1929-2004); Michael
Landon, US actor (1937-1990); Jane
Pauley, US television anchor woman
(1950-); John Candy, US actor
(1950-1994); Peter Jackson, NZ
film director (1961-); Rob Schneider, US
actor-comedian (1963-); Johnny Marr, British
musician (1963-); Vanilla Ice, US rapper
“An old error is always more popular than a
new truth. ” — German proverb
“ Like a city whose walls are broken down is a
man who lacks self-control. ” — Proverbs 25:28
A long association
with many local
bodies on the West
Coast will terminate
shortly with the departure for Christchurch of
Mr Les Patterson, a well-known Greymouth
funeral director. Mr Patterson has disposed of
his business to Messrs Groom and Pattinson,
trading as Westland Funeral Ser vices, and he
expects to depart in about six weeks’ time.
Mr Patterson has been in business here as
a funeral director for 20 years. He worked
for several years before that with his brother,
Gordon, who conducted a similar business here.
In 1944, Mr Patterson bought out the firm of
Bellamy ’s, and carried on under that name until
1954, when he purchased Samson’s Funeral
Services which he then changed to the present
name of Les Patterson and Sons Ltd.
Mr Patterson also has had a colourful career in
local body affairs while on the West Coast. For
six years he was a member of the Greymouth
Borough Council. He has spent 11 years with
the Grey Fire Board, six as borough and five as
government representative. He has been on the
district council of the Automobile Association
for about 18 years, and spent 23 years as a
member of the Greymouth Fire Brigade.
For over 10 years a Greymouth Savage Club
member, Mr Patterson for the past 12 years has
been a Greymouth Rotarian.
The Mark Dennehy Memorial Trophy for the
most scientific boxer in the Greymouth Marist
Boxing Club has this year been won by Bernard
Bell showed outstanding form during the
season just concluded, during which he won a
New Zealand junior title.
uFood for thought
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3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
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769 7913 (editorial)
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of the New Zealand Herald
t was not easy growing up in New
Zealand in the early 1990s and
trying to trick-or-treat.
At seven or eight years old we
were keen as jelly beans to dress
up in sheets and Spiderman
costumes, and knock on the doors that
surrounded our houses with candy
requests. O ur neighbours, however, were
never so enthused. “ We don’t believe
in Halloween” was the most common
phase to hear as we door knocked on 31
October. “It’s a silly American thing.”
Silly — we did not think so. But
American, yes. And that is why we
yearned for Halloween.
Many will agree, at least partially, than
New Zealand was a very unexciting
place to be a child in the 1980s and
most of the 1990s. Sure, it was safe, and
we could climb trees and swim in lakes
and ride our bikes until dark. But that
is not what made it somewhat dull — it
was seeing American life presented to
us on the small screen, and feeling a
world away from it. It was prom kings
and beauty queens, football teams
and red convertibles at 16; the aspects
of American culture that seemed so
Halloween was at the top of the list for
American cultural realities we wanted
replicated in New Zealand.
We wanted to car ve pumpkins. We
wanted to see our streets kitted out with
haunted house garb. We wanted scary
movie nights with popcorn and orange
and black M and Ms.
Much of this was brought on by The
Simpsons’ Halloween specials. Known,
I am told, as the Treehouse of Horror
series, these Simpsons episodes were an
annual event from 1990 onwards, and
spawned a whole merchandised world —
from figurines and video games to even
a special Treehouse of Horror Monopoly
set. Characters such as Vampire Burns
and the Devil-Flanders became revered,
and so did our (blood) thirst for a
yearly celebration of all things ghoulish;
complete with full pomp and ceremony.
This was one of the problems with
growing up as the VCR generation. Right
up until our teenage years, we would find
tv shows and films that represented our
ideal way of life, and force our parents
to let us continually watch the home-
recorded tapes, month after month, so we
could “re-live” idealised American culture.
Taped Simpsons Halloween specials
from various years took up sizable real
estate in my family’s tv cabinet, for sure;
and there was always a tantrum when
someone recorded over one of them.
Save for a few oddities at The
Warehouse, Halloween costumes were
hard to come by in New Zealand until
the late 1990s. Only after a stream
of teen horror films (which whet our
impressionable palates for all things
frightful) did the market catch on,
realising there was money to be made
in New Zealand in the lead up to
Scream masks. Fisherman’s hooks.
Leatherfaces. Thanks to the popularity
of Jennifer Love Hewitt and company,
Halloween paraphernalia was not just
something from the silver screen. We
could buy it down at the ‘red shed ’ and
have teenage gatherings in full spooky
Though not nearly to the extent of
our American dreams, Halloween has
proliferated in New Zealand since the
It has continually evolved, too. The
release of Mean Girls in 2004 taught us
that Halloween costumes could not just
be scary, but slutty, too.
It became acceptable — even expected
— for at least one friend to go full-
Amityville on their house and host a
proper party; complete with invitations
for multiple cross-dressing attempts
a la Frank-N -Furter. A generation of
Halloween-keen parents, now, are even
dressing up their little gremlins as actual
little gremlins. We have gone off our
heads for Halloween.
Recently, though, Halloween antics have
started to become distasteful. The torture-
porn popularisation brought on by the
Saw franchise has seen costumes trend
away from the cute and slightly scary, and
closer to the macabre; even unsightly.
Anyone who has seen bloody zipper
face make-up will see how realistic
at-home costuming has become, and
how genuinely frightening it is for
those who are not participating in
Halloween (particularly children, which
seems counter-productive as this whole
celebration is so kids can have a bit of fun
Likewise, as our world seemingly
becomes a darker place, there are ethics
around certain costume choices.
It seems wrong to maim or be-head
yourself for the purpose of dress-ups, as
public beheadings by terrorists groups
are actually making the news right now.
Time magazine has even reported surging
popularity in Ebola-themed Halloween
costumes, which is nothing but foul
taste considering the epidemic has killed
almost 5000 people of late.
We are a culture that loves hysteria, and
Halloween is a great vehicle for which
people can go nuts.
Is it an important celebration?
Absolutely not. But if it brings
communities and friends together, most
of us are all for it.
That will be, of course, until we see
Islamic State costumes come out.
A version of the gruesome ‘zipper-face’ costume, which has become a popular choice in New Zealand.
What police have labelled the latest act
of terror in New York City did not involve
an international conspiracy, a high-profile
target or a bomb just an unemployed loner
wielding a hardware-store hatchet on an
New York Police Department officials’
characterisation of the assault on a group
of officers last week in Queens by Zale
Thompson raised questions about what
qualifies as terrorism in an era 13 years
removed from the September 11, 2001
Though police say there is some evidence
suggesting Thompson was influenced by
extremist Muslim rhetoric on the internet
about a struggle to the death with the west,
he also had contact with a black activist
about fighting racism at home.
The FBI, which normally takes the lead
on terror investigations, has offered no
similar assessment that Thompson should
be viewed as a terrorist.
“ We can’t really think of him as being
in the same category as the Zazis and
Shahzads of the world,” Karen Greenberg,
a national security expert at Fordham
University, said referring to the men behind
failed plots against the New York subways
and Times Square.
The case points out the need for law
enforcement to come up with new
language to define crimes with only loose
connections to terrorism, Greenberg said.
“ You don’t want to overuse the word
‘terrorism’,” she said. “It would lose its
Jitters over terror hung over the
investigation of the hatchet attack. It came
a day after a gunman’s deadly rampage at
Canada’s war memorial and Parliament that
is also being characterised as a terrorist act.
The questions about the 32-year-old
Thompson began soon after he pulled a
hatchet out of a backpack and, in broad
daylight and without warning, charged
a group of uniformed officers and began
hacking away. One officer suffered a serious
head wound before other officers shot and
killed the assailant.
Initially, police officials said there was no
obvious link to terrorism. But on Saturday,
after examining Thompson’s social media
and internet search activity, they described
him as “self-radicalised” Muslim convert
and “lone wolf ”.
“This was a terrorist attack, certainly,”
police commissioner William Bratton
said when pressed by reporters at a news
The attack differed from previous ones
in which the suspects were US citizens of
Arab or Muslim descent, received training
or funding from Middle East-based terror
groups, and chose public transportation,
tourist attractions or financial institutions
as targets to cause maximum mayhem, John
Miller, the NYPD’s top counter-terrorism
Extremists are using a mass-marketing
recruitment campaign on the internet,
believing that “if just a few buy into that
narrative and act out independently, that
will be enough”, Miller said.
Investigators found that Thompson had
frequented websites propagating the views
of the Islamic State and other terror groups.
He complained in his own writings
about “Zionists and Crusaders” occupying
the Islamic world, saying the solution
was to “cut the head off the beast ”, police
said. Family members said he spent long
stretches alone in a bedroom in his father’s
home and seemed depressed.
But Thompson’s motive remains murky.
The black activist he was in touch with has
said Thompson expressed opposition to
terrorism and violence against police. In
one Facebook posting, the activist accused
authorities of “lying and trying to make
this into some form of violent conspiracy
against law enforcement ”.
One witness, former radio reporter Walter
Ocner, said terrorism never occurred to him
when he took cover amid gunfire and saw
Thompson fall to the ground.
But he has since heard news accounts and
now believes the case shows that terrorism
“can happen anywhere”, he said. “I’m
definitely a bit on edge.” — AP
What qualifies as terrorism?
The township of Reefton is mourning
the loss of Frances Hunter, an active
member of the Inangahua community.
Frances Hunter was rewarded with
the Q ueen’s Ser vice Medal in 1998
for her community ser vice. She was a
Justice of the Peace and was especially
well known for her passion and
dedication to the historic goldmining
ghost town of Waiuta.
She was the chairwoman,
spokeswoman and former president
of the Friends of Waiuta and was
passionate about the town where she
was born and raised.
As well as fronting numerous
restoration projects at Waiuta, Mrs
Hunter was fully involved in the
She was a volunteer and Victim
Support officer for over 23 years, a gold
star member of the Reefton Volunteer
Fire Brigade, and a dedicated
Long-time friend Robin Waghorn
described Mrs Hunter as staunch and
“Those two words describe her. She
was passionate about anything she
believed in, and she was a fount of
information on history of Waiuta and
the Union Church.”
Frances Hunter is sur vived by her
husband of 55 years, Graham, and
their three children Lynette, Bruce and
Frances (Francie) Hunter
A man who attacked police officers with a hatchet lies dead, back, along with an injured
officer in New York City.
The Vatican yesterday unveiled new
high-tech, energy-saving lighting and
air purification systems to protect
Michelangelo’s delicate Sistine Chapel
frescoes from damage caused by ever-
growing crowds of tourists.
Dust brought in from outside, body sweat
and carbon dioxide pose a major risk to
the masterpieces, which are more than 500
years old. They include one of the most
famous scenes in the history of art — the
arm of a gentle bearded God reaching out
to give life to Adam.
To protect the frescoes, the Vatican has
decided to restrict the number of visitors
to the chapel — where popes are elected in
secret conclaves — to six million a year.
The previous lighting and air conditioning
systems were installed in 1994 — when
the number of visitors stood at about
1.5 million — and had become inadequate
to protect the work of the Renaissance
master. The new air filtering and
conditioning system, which is virtually
invisible to visitors and uses pre-existing
duct openings, moves air at a very slow
speed so as not to damage the frescoes.
Hidden cameras, including two on the
massive Last Judgment panel behind the
altar, check the number people while some
70 monitors control machines outside the
chapel that determine air flow, filter out
dust and reduce humidity.
“This chapel is a unique structure so we
spent a great deal of time understanding
how air flows here in order to map
the technology,” John Mandyck, chief
sustainability officer for United
Technologies unit Carrier, which developed
the system, said.
“Air flows differently here than it does,
say in an office building or even another
church,” he told reporters during a evening
presentation after the Vatican Museums
had closed for the day to tourists.
The new lighting system, made by
Germany ’s Osram uses some 7000 LED
lamps consuming up to 90% less electricity
than previously, reducing heat to further
protect the frescoes.
It has three levels of lighting. One very
low level will be used when the chapel is
empty, a medium level of illumination will
be used when the chapel is open to tourists
and a third, much brighter and hotter level
will be used only several times a year during
The frescoes, inaugurated in October 1512
by Pope Julius II, under went a major
14-year restoration that ended in 1994.
They also include the famous Last
Judgment on the wall behind the altar,
which the artist painted separately between
1535 and 1541.
Neither the Vatican nor the companies
would disclose the cost of the work.
High-tech protection for Sistine Chapel ceiling
The Sistine Chapel’s frescoes.
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