Home' Greymouth Star : December 18th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
Waugh Stories: Growing
up in Hokitika during the
Alec Waugh and Richard
Kynaston Charitable Trust
Hokitika today is a tidy
town with a vibrant life.
In the summertime the
streets are transformed
with a bustling influx of
international tourists, and
the cafes overflow with
alfresco diners. But it was
not always so.
It was not until the 1980s
that the town ‘came of age’ as a tourist venue,
leaving behind the drabness that persisted
through to that time.
Waugh Stories: Growing up in Hokitika
During the 1960s gives a flavour of this recent
yesteryear, when Hokitika typified rural
smalltown New Zealand — self-contained with
no need to venture elsewhere for shopping, a
central business district that was still caught in
a timewarp, and a population that was so stable
that newcomers were obvious and welcomed as
a great curiosity.
So it was with the Waugh family. With
English immigrant parents, the Waughs
moved from Rangiora to Hokitika after Brian
Waugh became chief pilot and engineer of the
pioneering West Coast Airways, New Zealand’s
first airline, started by the West Coast famous
Captain Bert Mercer.
For the next 10 years they called Hokitika
‘home’ before flying off to their next destination.
But for a family of youngsters
and teenagers, these were their
formative years, defined and
shaped with indelible memories
of growing up on the West
A snapshot of those memories
are captured in this book, which
will resonate with everyone
who also grew up in Hokitika,
whether in the 1960s or later,
for oftentimes the places and
characters are unchanged.
Who from Hokitika in
the 1960s or 1970s does not
have a story of Hoods, the
‘pictures’ at the Regent Theatre,
the old railway station and road
and rail bridge, or distinctive
characters like Eric Moore? Waugh brothers
Alec and Richard weave these and so much
more into their storytelling of their time on the
Coast, Alec for his teen years before heading
off to a distinguished career in the police, and
Richard for his primary school years before
high school in Gisborne and then a national
leadership role in the Wesleyan Church.
Theirs was a simpler era when the Hokitika
skyline was not dominated by a giant dairy
factory, when Seaview Hospital on the hill was
the biggest employer and when sawmilling was
an accepted everyday way of life.
This book, released to coincide with Hokitika’s
150th celebrations this weekend is illustrated
with some fabulous photos from the era.
For those from Hokitika, Waugh Stories
are personal memories but many of them are
our stories, too, a social history that is both
evocative and well told.
Reviewed by Paul Madgwick
6 - Thursday, December 18, 2014
Rail: 150 Years of Rail in New
att Turner has
compiled a rich,
tome recording how
New Zealanders have interacted
with railways over the last 150
years, with the emphasis on the
golden age of rail in the 1920s to
This lavishly-produced book,
Rail: 150 Years of Rail in New
Zealand, celebrates the first
steel-on -steel transport in this
country, a line to the wharf at
Ferrymead in Christchurch, which
opened in December 1863.
There were a couple of earlier,
limited efforts, including Nelson’s
Dun Mountain line.
The early endeavours, pushed
by provincial governments, were
on different gauges and there was
The foresight and energy of Julius
Vogel got a national rail network
off to a quick start. In his 1870
budget, Vogel urged the spending
of £8.5 million on public works
(mainly rail and road) and land
For this book the Museum
of Transport and Technology
(MOTAT) came on board and
its archives are the main source
of photos. Historic black and
white images are magnificently
reproduced, and interspersed with
colour photos of restored wagons
The book also recalls the epic
feats of construction, including the
Otira tunnel and the spectacular
North Island viaducts.
There are photos of the
Greymouth wharf, in the 1880s
and 1940s, and several other Coast
and Midland Line pictures.
The book is divided in to three
chapters, the early years (1860s to
World War One); the golden age
(1920s to 40s); and the modern era
(from the 1950s).
The modern era is rather glossed
over and is illustrated mainly with
Rather than a step-by-step
history of railways in New
Zealand, Turner has focused on
selected milestones, resulting in an
This book will appeal to a
general audience beyond the “train
Reviewed by Gavin Riley
Pike: Death by Parliament
Peter Ewen self-published
Rapahoe writer Peter Ewen is no
newcomer to mining, or Pike River.
The author of Strongman Mine
history book Three Score and More,
Ewen also wrote editorials about
the Pike River Mine long before the
disaster, warning things would not go as
smoothly as the often bullish company
He also wrote about weaknesses in the
health and safety system in Greymouth
Star editorials, and was a submitter to
the government in 2008 when he urged
that mining inspectors be given more
But it was not to be, and in November
2010 the mine blew up with the loss of
As indicated by the title, a lot of
the book focuses on the Department
of Labour’s failings, starting with
Ewen cites at length parliamentary
transcripts by the 45th Parliament,
which ended with the demise of the
For possibly the first time, the MPs
who voted for change are cited — and
those who mocked West Coast-
Tasman MP Damien O’Connor for his
objections at the time.
Ann Batten (NZ First) accused
opponents of wasting the time of the
House and the money of taxpayers in
“standing up and speaking for hours on
Jenny Bloxham (NZ First) said the
opponents were lazy and prepared to
waste the time of the House at a cost of
at least $5000 a minute.
Mr O’Connor, though, argued: “I have
a greater number of constituents whose
lives depend upon the safety of the
mines inspectorate group”.
Ewen does not ignore the role of
individuals at the mine, though.
Managers Gordon Ward and Peter
Whittall share a chapter, as do Doug
White and Steve Ellis.
For the police, Superintendent Gary
Knowles features prominently.
The book opens with a compelling
account of the disaster, and concludes
with ‘where are we now’? It offers a
balanced account of the disaster, backed
by excerpts from the findings of the
Royal Commission of Inquiry.
The research that would have
gone into this book must have been
painstaking, filling hundreds of pages.
Ewen — and he is the first Pike
author to accomplish this — also uses
He has drawn on numerous archives,
including Pike River’s own and the
Greymouth Star, to insert telling and
often poignant images the entire way
The faces of the managers stare out at
the reader, as do the faces of the dead.
This is not a holiday read. It is a
definitive historical account, one that
should stand the test of time. It is
not hard to imagine high school or
university students using it in years to
If this book goes to a second run, it
would be good to see an index included,
but that is a minor gripe.
On sale now at West Coast book
shops, Pike: Death by Parliament
shines a light on every corner of this
If every politician were to receive a
copy, there may be hope such a mining
tragedy will never happen again.
Reviewed by Laura Mills
Dwayne Alexander Smith
Faber and Faber
A small civil rights
lawsuit, alleging racial
discrimination against a
large tyre company, has
turned into one of the
biggest cases in the career
of Martin Grey, a talented, black, up-and-
coming young lawyer in New York.
When he unexpectedly wins the case the
last person he expects to see at his celebration
party is the case’s opposing counsel Damon
Darrell, the wealthy and most successful black
lawyer in town.
Damon is impressed and invites Martin and
his wife to a dinner at his glittering home
where the high-powered and influential guests
are black and the staff are white.
Before long, Martin has agreed to join them
for a weekend away from it all but there must
be no wives, no mobile phones and no talk of
What he discovers, at a secret location called
Forty Acres, is an alternative reality where
black men rule and white men obey.
Joining them seems to guarantee a future
without limits; rebuking them almost certainly
guarantees his death.
Reviewed by Susan Aynsley
journalist, begins to
investigate the story of a
young mother murdered
behind her son’s nursery
school. She is convinced this murder is linked
At the same time her often unfaithful
husband, Thomas, travelling across the world
as part of a government delegation in Kenya, is
kidnapped and held to ransom by local bandits
who begin to execute their hostages.
The narrative switches back and forth
between these two stories. Annie is left to deal
with their children, her newspaper job, hostage
negotiations, raising a ransom and, finally, the
dangers of delivering the ransom money to
Africa. Thomas’s story, in the first person, tells
of his inhumane treatment by his captors.
The murder investigation fades into the
background, as a story which starts slowly
builds rapidly to the attempt to rescue Thomas.
The threads of the two stories are tied together
with a literally explosive climax, if not a totally
Reviewed by Daphne Willis
The Darkest Hour
The book follows Lucy
Standish and her quest
to write the biography
of World War Two artist
Evelyn Lucas fourteen
years after her death.
Mystery surrounds a painting that Lucy ’s
husband Lawrence was trying to authenticate
when he was killed.
Who are the people in the painting and
where are all of Evelyn ‘s paintings?
Lucy slowly sifts through the information
she has been given by Evelyn’s grandson Mike
and begins to get a sense of who Evelyn was.
The book flicks from the story of Evelyn as
it happened, to the story of Lucy unfolding,
but I found this less annoying than I thought
We also have the story of Evelyn’s other
Why is he trying to block Lucy from writing
This book has it all, mystery, romance,
murder and ghosts. As the story of Evelyn
unfolds, her life, love and painting, you will
become engrossed in the way it has all been
Reviewed by Ollie Witton
For our West Coast books
special we have three new
titles to win — Pike: Death
by Parliament, Waugh
Stories: Growing up in
Hokitika in the 1960s, and
God Knows Where They
Send your name name,
address and phone number
C/o Greymouth Star
or e-mail competitions@
Bookshelf in the subject
One entry per
household. Entries close
on December 24.
Shining a light on Pike River
150 years of rail
God Knows Where They
Allan Davidson, Steve Lowe, Ted
Schroder, Richard Waugh
Craigs Design and Print
Who knew that Hokitika once had
a Jewish synagogue?
This and other interesting snippets
are contained in God Knows Where
They Come From, published in time
for the town’s sesquicentennial.
This little book provides a short
history of institutional religion from
the foundation of Hokitika in 1864.
The growth of the four main
denominations are outlined in a
broad-brushstroke with an over view
of various aspects of life in early
Hokitika. A further dimension is
added by seminal events like the
mock Fenian funeral of 1868 which
directly reflected particular religious
and cultural prejudices brought to
Westland by its pioneers.
The book is subtitled Four Faith
Stories and most of it is contained in
personal essays, written by the four
These essentially provide perspective
on New Zealand religious practice
from the 1940s onward.
All four authors grew up in
Hokitika between the 1940s and
1980s, and committed themselves to
ordained ministry in their respective
Catholic, Methodist, Anglican, and
Each author shares their faith
formation and their subsequent
social-religious and theological
What I found interesting was the
way each casts light on the ecclesial
outlook of the authors: how they see
themselves and why they chose full-
Each also provide insight into a
New Zealand, now past. Up until
50 years ago most people regularly
aligned themselves to a church and
As a result, each essay charts the
shifting expectations of New Zealand
society over the past 50 years.
Of interest are the Hokitika
religious affiliation census figures
outlined on page 27 from the past
Food for thought for Hokitika
Catholics pondering a rebuild in
2014: the area has more people
calling themselves Catholic now than
in the late 19th century.
This book is a worthy preface to
further reading on both Hokitika and
New Zealand social-religious history.
Reviewed by Brendon McMahon
in Darkest Hour
From murder probe to
1960s Hokitika recalled
Hokitika’s social-religious history
Three West Coast
books to win!
Turning the tides
in Forty Acres
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CHRISTMAS DAY READING
Lots of last minute gift ideas in store at Paper Plus, Greymouth. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all the staff.
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