Home' Greymouth Star : December 4th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Thursday, December 4, 2014
We appreciate the value of the Letters to the Editor
column as a public forum for West Coasters and
welcome your opinion and suggestions.
Letters may be submitted by post, fax or e-mail and
must include your name, address, phone number
and — except for e-mails — your signature. Noms
de plume are not accepted.
Please keep your letters honest, respectful and
within 300 words. Letter writers will generally not
be published more often than weekly. The Editor
reserves the right to edit or not publish letters,
especially those that are offensive or too long.
Post to PO Box 3, Greymouth, fax to 768 6205 or
e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
uLetters to the editor
963 - Holy Roman Emperor Otto deposes
Pope John XII for dishonourable conduct and
for plotting an armed conspiracy. Leo VIII
succeeds as Pope.
1154 - Nicolas Breakspear, the first and only
Englishman to be elected Pope, is crowned as
1586 - England’s Q ueen
Elizabeth I confirms death sentence
against Mary Queen of Scots.
1791 - Britain’s Obser ver
newspaper, the oldest Sunday
newspaper in the world, appears for
the first time.
1942 - US bombers strike Italy’s mainland for
first time in World War Two.
1944 - British troops, aided by Greeks, fight
in streets of Athens in World War Two.
1976 - Benjamin Britten, English composer,
dies. His works included the operas Peter
Grimes, Billy Budd and Death in Venice.
1994 - Gunmen open fire on a trendy
Stockholm nightclub, killing three people and
wounding 21 others. Police believe the killers
were seeking revenge after being turned away
by the doorman.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Thomas Carlyle, Scottish essayist-historian
(1795-1881); Samuel Butler, English author
(1815-1902); Edith Cavell, English
nurse-patriot (1865-1915); General
Francisco Franco, Spanish dictator
(1892-1975); Max Baer Jr, US
actor-producer (1937-); Tony
Gresham, champion Australian
amateur golfer (1940-); Jeff
Bridges, US actor (1949-); Marisa
Tomei, US actress (1964-); Jay-Z,
US rapper (1969-); Tyra Banks, US model-
actress (1973-); Steven Menzies, Australian
rugby league footballer (1973-); Jimmy Bartel,
Australian rules footballer (1983-).
“There’s much to be said for challenging
fate instead of ducking behind it.” — Diana
Trilling, American author and literary critic.
“‘Comfort, comfort My people,’ says your
God.” — Isaiah 40:1.
“I’ll have to get out
before I am kicked
out,” joked the Mayor
Mr F W Baillie last evening when he ser ved
notice that he would retire at the end of his
present term as mayor — his fourth term.
Speaking at the Marist school prizegiving
function, he said it would be his last time
officially at the function, as he would not stand
again next October.
Mr Baillie, who set a record for the town
when he was installed for his present term, had
indicated then that he did not propose to go
beyond the 12-year period.
“ Too much emphasis is being placed today
on the influence of the school in the lives of
its pupils,” said the brother-director of the
Marist Brothers’ High School, the Rev Bro
Eugene, in his report at the annual break-up
and prizegiving ceremony last night. Brother
Eugene told the packed hall that the influence
was strong and everlasting, but the error
was in an emphasis on this influence to the
exclusion of others which made up much of
its environment — home, companions, leisure,
“ In my experience,” he said, “school influence
complements that of the home — the child
must be receptive and responsive — the school
cannot be left alone to develop these features
of character. ”
Gregory Wood is the 1964 dux of the
Marist Brothers’ High School. At last night’s
prizegiving he was awarded the Fogarty Cup.
Dux of thre primary department and a winner
of a number of prizes was Michael McDonnell.
He also won the McBrearty Prize, the
Bevilacqua Medal and the Seddon Medal.
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
Greymouth Evening Star Co Limited
3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
03 769 7900 (office)
769 7913 (editorial)
768 6205 (fax)
03 769 7913
03 755 8422
If anything can still be considered
sacred in New Zealand it is Anzac
For pakeha New Zealanders, in
particular, the commemoration
of the Anzac landing at Gallipoli
on April 25, 1915 holds a visceral
significance which Waitangi Day
has never achieved. That the day
has sur vived the passing of all
those who were actually there bears
testimony to its status as one of
the most potent symbols of our
In her nine years as Prime
Minister, Helen Clark devoted
considerable energy (and a not
insignificant amount of taxpayer
cash) to enhancing the power and
reach of Anzac Day.
Ms Clark’s purpose was to
underscore the military tragedy’s
role in nudging New Zealanders
for ward from their reflexive
identification with the British
Empire towards the first, tentative,
notion that they might, one day,
become something more than
mere loyal subjects of the
You might, therefore, think
that Ms Clark’s successor,
contemplating the 100th
anniversary of the Gallipoli
landings, would be anxious to
ensure that nothing happened to
besmirch or cheapen the solemn
character of this major historical
commemoration. But, in this
matter, as in so many other matters
of late, our current prime minister,
John Key, is full of surprises.
At his post-Cabinet media
conference on Monday, Mr Key
announced that: “it’s not impossible
that they (the training components
of Australian and New Zealand
military contingents poised to join
the international effort against
Islamic State) could be badged as
an Anzac unit.”
Mr Key and his Australian
counterpart, Tony Abbott, have
clearly been mulling over the
possibility of resurrecting the
Anzac “badge” ever since the two
politicians teamed-up in the West
Australian port of Albany to jointly
preside over commemorations of
the original Anzacs’ embarkation
for Egypt on November 1, 1914.
It is difficult to know where to
begin the list of reasons why the
Prime Ministers’ suggestion should
be dismissed out of hand.
Perhaps we should start by
reviewing why the original
Gallipoli campaign proved to be
such a disaster.
In April 1915, New Zealand was
ordered into a hastily improvised
invasion of the Ottoman Empire
with no clear understanding of
what we were being asked to do
Anzac legend is about anything at
all, it is about young Australian and
New Zealand men transcending
the idiocy and mendacity of their
leaders and the hopelessness of
their situation to assert a set of
values and qualities unique to the
places they called home.
We honour the 2779 young New
Zealanders who fell in that fight
not simply for their tremendous
courage, but also for the terrible
lesson which their utterly needless
deaths have, hopefully, inscribed
upon our national memory. That it
is terribly wrong for our leaders to
send young New Zealand men and
women to right wrongs that we, as
New Zealanders, did not commit
and which we cannot hope to end.
Mr Key has stated that he has
no intention of “doing something
that ’s disrespectful”. But allowing
us to be drawn into a joint role
with the Australians under some
sort of sentimental throwback to
the Anzacs is, as Labour’s Andrew
Little noted, “pretty cynical”.
Especially since it would be
a joint mission without clear
objectives, lacking any reliable
metric for success, and which will
likely end with New Zealand’s
soldiers being hastily withdrawn
amidst recrimination and disgust.
Iraq is a failed state riven with
corruption and religious enmity.
Its standing army is a standing
joke. Nine out of 10 of the men
we would be “training” have no
wish to either kill or die for a
regime they neither respect nor
trust. The remaining person will
gladly put themselves and their
weapons at the disposal of Islamic
State. Nowhere in Iraq is “behind
the wire”. The whole country is a
If the strategic studies
departments of our universities
were worthy of the name they
would be condemning the madness
of sending foreign troops to Iraq
in order to crush a movement
brought into being by the presence
of foreign troops in Iraq. With
Australian planes strafing IS
positions and its special forces
readying themselves for combat,
nothing could endanger New
Zealand’s home front more than
publicly joining our name with
that of the United States’ gung-ho
“deputy sheriff ”.
Imperial folly has claimed enough
New Zealand lives.
Chris Trotter is an independent,
left-wing political commentator.
Key’s ‘cynical’ Anzac suggestion
The woman who galvanised a Charleston
landmark nearly 60 years ago died recently
at the age of 97.
Former Westport mayoress and racing
identity, Marie St John Craddock, was a
distinctive personality throughout her 70
years in Buller.
Hers was the crucial role with two other
women, Eileen Mouat of Punakaiki
and Molly Robertson of Westport, in
the erection of the Our Lady of the
Way shrine at Charleston. The statue,
honouring the Virgin Mary, was inspired
by the Marian year of 1954 and unveiled
in time for the Feast of the Assumption, in
The shrine was dedicated to Our Lady of
the Way, inferring that Mary “is she who
points us to Christ her Son, the way ”.
It became a place of pilgrimage for
Coasters and a tribute to the many pioneer
families buried on the site of the former
Charleston Catholic Church.
Fr John Craddock says his mother’s
ability to organise her friends around
this was “buoyed by a strong Catholic
Christianity”, enhanced by her early
education from both the Mission and
She was born Marie Toner, in 1917
in Napier. In 1942 she was working in
Ballantynes, Christchurch, when she
accepted an invitation from Greymouth
friends to a whitebait supper to meet
Coast friends. The only guest to arrive
was Bill Craddock, of Westport. He was
a widower with two sons both still under
five. Marie, an only child with parents in
Timaru, eventually agreed to marry Bill.
Buller historian, Norman Crawshaw,
in the book Craddocks of the Buller,
describes Marie’s marriage to Bill as
bringing “a regard for knowledge and
education as something important in
In Westport, she stood out during her 70
years in the district for a loyal presence to
family, the Catholic faith and friends, Fr
Marie also had the distinction of being
35 years a widow after 35 years of marriage
to Bill, who died in 1979.
Her retentive memory was legendary.
“She could recall not only the details of
five generations of Buller families, but also
much of the pedigree of the local harness
industry,” Fr John says.
She bred D urban Chief, among Buller’s
Elegant, in dress, manner and voice,
Marie used her influence in a myriad of
charitable tasks, especially the St Vincent
de Paul Society. She fully supported
Bill in the family transport business, his
administration of national and local rugby
and trotting, and in his nine years as
Mayor of Westport.
Marie suffered a long period of
depression after the death of her husband
but with dedicated help she pulled
through, coming through this darkness
“ into greater serenity of soul,” Fr John says.
Afterwards Marie became a fixture at
O’Conor Home, in Westport, for over two
Marie Craddock was predeceased by a
daughter and son, Dona Rosa and Bede,
and is sur vived by her two stepsons, Bill
and Trevor, and sons John and Mark.
by Brendon McMahon
PICTURE: Charles Bruning
Marie Craddock with West Coast-Tasman MP Damien O’Connor at the opening
of Coaltown Museum, in June 2013.
United States health officials
have released a draft of long-
awaited federal guidelines on
circumcision, saying medical
evidence supports having the
procedure done despite opposition
from advocates who decry
the pain, bleeding and risk of
infections to newborns.
The guidelines stop short of
telling parents to get their sons
That is a personal decision that
may involve religious or cultural
preferences, Dr Jonathan Mermin
of the US Centres for Disease
Control and Prevention, or CDC,
But “the scientific evidence is
clear that the benefits outweigh
the risks”, Mermin, who oversees
the agency ’s programmes on HIV
and other sexually transmitted
Circumcision is a brief medical
procedure that involves cutting
away the foreskin around the tip
of the penis. Germs can grow
underneath the foreskin, and
CDC officials say the procedure
can lower a male’s risk of sexually
transmitted diseases, penile
cancer and even urinary tract
The CDC started working on
the guidelines about seven years
ago, when a cluster of influential
studies in Africa indicated
circumcision might help stop the
spread of the Aids virus.
“The benefits of male
circumcision have become more
and more clear over the last 10
years,” Dr Aaron Tobian, a Johns
Hopkins University researcher
involved in one of the African
studies, said. — AP
orld War Two’s greatest
escape, which involved
New Zealand officers
scaling barbed wire
fences instead of the
previously favoured method of tunnelling,
has been told for the first time.
Mark Felton’s Zero Night: The Untold
Story of World War Two’s Most Daring
Escape tells of the events surrounding the
night of August 30, 1942.
Forty officers from Britain, Australia,
South Africa and New Zealand staged the
audacious escape from Oflag VI-B camp in
They built huge, folding wooden ladders
in the camp’s music room under the cover
of raucous playing of instruments and choir
While final preparations were made, the
ladders were disguised as bookshelves to
dupe the guards.
The notorious Warburg Wire Job was
overshadowed by the Great Escape tunnel
two years later, immortalised in the classic
film starring Steve McQ ueen and Richard
Scottish lieutenant Jock Hamilton-Baillie,
23, came up with the ingenious ladder plan
after witnessing many futile tunnelling
Major Tom Stallard, 37, with early help
from RAF hero pilot Douglas Bader,
planned Operation Olympian.
Of the 26 men who clambered over the
ladders just three successfully made the
“ home run” back to Britain.
The book’s blurb says New Zealanders
took part in the escape, but the book fails to
contain any details of their heroics.
NZ military historians Christopher
Pugsley and Professor Glyn Harper are in
the dark over the New Zealand link.
Military historian Dr Damien Fenton,
a research fellow at Massey University,
is unaware of any personal account or
memoirs by New Zealanders at Oflag
He said the camp crammed in about 2500
British Commonwealth officers, including
nearly all the New Zealand Army officers
captured in Greece and Crete in 1941 and
a smaller number of New Zealand RAF
officers shot down over occupied Europe.
The over-crowded jail was shut down
after repeated escape attempts.
“The August escape was the last straw,”
Dr Fenton said.
While the cramped and unsanitary
conditions were condemned by the
International Red Cross, morale remained
high. “As you’d expect from a camp of
mostly well-educated officers with the
qualities of intelligence, initiative and
leadership to match, the prisoners were
exceedingly well organised and the de facto
camp administration run by the POWs
second to none,” Dr Fenton said.
Inmates organised and ran sports
competitions, camp concerts, a library,
theatre groups, educational courses, and
even a Maori language course.
“All these activities were a great help in
giving cover to the work required to plan
and carry out the various escape attempts,”
Dr Fenton said. — New Zealand Herald
The wire job
One of Hamilton-Baillie’s ingenious scaling contraptions photographed across the fences the day after the escape, August 31,
Circumcision ‘benefits outweigh risks’ — doctors
Links Archive December 3rd 2014 December 5th 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page