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SATURDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2014
Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
Work to start on
Blaketown School hall
Part of the Greymouth floodwall
and the Turumaha Street hillside
will be flush with yellow next
spring, with plans to plant
hundreds of daffodil bulbs.
Clare Strange, who does
freelance work with the Cancer
Society in Greymouth, said the
idea arose as a way to help raise
She wrote to the Grey District
Council and proposed planting
daffodils on the grass bank along
Turumaha Street, behind Karoro
Learning, and along the grass from
Mawhera Quay between the signal
box and Cobden Bridge.
The Cancer Society will fundraise
to pay for the bulbs, then sell
the flowers as part of the annual
fundraiser Daffodil Day in August.
“And if it makes the place look
better, that ’s good ... It’s a win-win
for Greymouth,” Mrs Strange said.
The council last week agreed to
the proposal and to provide $3000
for maintaining the area.
Councillors considered what
to do when the daffodils wilted,
resolving to plant other flowers to
grow over the top while leaving
the daffodil bulbs in the ground.
The West Coast Regional
Council, which is responsible
for the floodwall, said it had no
problems with the idea.
Miner comes home
to stripped bach
An Atarau bach owner arrived
home a week ago after 12 months
mining in Western Australia, to find
thieves had stripped everything of
value. “ They have taken everything
except the leaves on the trees,” Carl
Hands said yesterday. Chainsaws,
skillsaws, belt sanders, extension
cords, possum traps, mechanical
hand tools, two 80kg backpacks,
a water pump, skinning knives,
sheaths and steels, and even a ladder
valued at $700 were all missing.
“They are all my big tickets items,
which I will have to replace,”
Mr Hands said. The thief would
have had to climb in the top of a
shed and use a wheelbarrow —
subsequently left in the middle of
the road — to ferry the stolen booty
to a vehicle. Mr Hands had planned
to spend his holiday break with
his family at the bach waiting on
building projects, but since all the
gear had been taken he had to scrap
those plans. He had owned the
property for 23 years and this was
the first time he had been burgled.
“ I suspect hunters in the area had
stumbled across the property and
decided it had been abandoned and
thought it was their right to take my
gear,” Mr Hands said. He was keen
to hear from anyone who may have
information about the thefts — or
better still, return the stolen gear.
Rain easing to showers
(Supplied by Nelson Weather Service)
Greymouth Star On-line
United Kingdom police were
called to a parish council meeting
after a row over sheep grazing
turned into a physical fight.
Lancashire police have called
in video footage of the incident
on Monday, at a meeting of the
allotments committee of Briercliffe
Parish Council. The meeting had
to be abandoned after discussions
about sheep grazing rights became
heated and “swear words were
exchanged” before the row spilled
outside. Cr Margaret Lishman,
who chaired the meeting, said:
“The meeting had to be adjourned
because a fight broke out between
some members of the public. The
matter is with the police at the
present time so it would not be
appropriate for me to comment
further. ” — Daily Mail
A Greymouth man was jailed for 21
months for a life-threatening stabbing,
to “send a signal” to those who wielded
knives while drunk, a judge said in the
Greymouth District Court this week.
Jason Dale Rowling, 27, had previously
been convicted of wounding with reckless
disregard, having stabbed a man outside
the Railway Hotel earlier this year.
On June 14, Rowling and his victim,
whom he did not know, had been
drinking at the Railway Hotel. Rowling
was drinking with two women, one of
whom he thought was his girlfriend.
However, the woman did not reciprocate
the feeling and during the evening she
tried to distance herself from him.
When the hotel closed early the next
morning, Rowling got into an argument
with the woman about her going home
with the male victim. He told the
woman, “you’re not going home with
that f..kwit”. The woman tried to move
away but Rowling again confronted her.
The victim intervened and stood between
Rowling and the woman, telling Rowling
to “ leave her alone”.
A scuffle ensued but when the victim
punched Rowling, he pulled out a pocket
knife and stabbed the other man in the
left side of his chest, between the ninth
and 10th rib, narrowly missing his lung
The victim ran off, with Rowling briefly
in pursuit before he fled the scene.
The victim flagged down a passing car
and was taken to hospital, where he
required medical treatment and a blood
transfusion. The single stab wound had
burst a blood vessel and caused bleeding
into the lung.
Lawyer Richard Bodle said that, given
the circumstances, it was not a “random
act of street violence,” although Rowling
agreed that the use of the knife was
Mr Bodle said Rowling accepted that
drugs and alcohol had been an issue at
the time of his offending, when he had
reached a “ low point ” in his life. He had
a history of violent offending, having
among other things previously got into
an argument with someone at a ser vice
station, using a window wiping squeegee
as a weapon.
Judge Brian Callaghan told Rowling
the facts of the case “do you no credit.
You were drunk and also affected by
The judge refused to accept that
Rowling was eligible for a sentence
of home detention. “ You are not a first
offender, you have had your chance in the
past and I don’t see why you should be
accorded the chance to do your sentence
by home detention. There needs to be a
signal sent out to people who drink and
use knives,” Judge Callaghan said.
PICTURE: Nicholas McBride
Clare Strange with an image of what she hopes the section of the floodwall behind the Mawhera Quay signal
box will look like next spring when planted with daffodils.
to be dressed
The draft Opus plan for the Greymouth
central business district is out for public
feedback. Over the next few weeks the
Greymouth Star, in conjunction with the
Grey District Council, will run a daily
Today we look at camper van parking.
The highest priority indicated in the
community feedback was to support local
business and tourism, council community
economic development adviser Erin
“The proposed outcome of this project
is to ensure our visitors have a high
quality experience that invites them to
linger longer and contribute to our local
businesses while they stay.
“The proposed project aims to provide
a riverside-CBD destination for visiting
and overnight campervan tourists so these
visitors can experience the unique river
edge and CBD attractions. This location
could be a space that is well connected;
both to the western development hub
including the river edge Heritage Park
and proposed discovery centre.
“This project ’s outcomes would provide
a well-lit, safe environment with basic
amenities such as seating and a water
supply station. This project would aim
to create a positive experience for those
Today’s question: How might we make
our CBD more inviting for camper van
You can e-mail your response to
The roll at Greymouth High School
is in decline, partly as a result of the
mining slump, although nearby John
Paul II High School has gained.
In the past four years the roll at
Greymouth High has fallen by 88,
from 637 to 549 — far short of the
high of about 900 in the 1970s.
Over the same period, John Paul II
— the only Catholic secondary school
on the West Coast — increased by 44,
from 144 to 188.
Reefton Area School fell from
218 four years ago to 197 in 2012,
rebounding to 206 this year.
Greymouth High School principal
Andy England said the figures were
proof of a recent “demographic shift ”
in the Greymouth, population as
families left town.
“My ideal number would be about
700 ... that would give us a better
mix across most ages. If we got
close to 700, we would be in a very
comfortable position. But unless we
get a significant mining resurgence,
or in any other industry, it ’s unlikely
we’ll get to that number.”
He attributed the increase in the
roll at John Paul II as part of the
“continuing phenomenon of Catholic
John Paul II High School principal
Kieran Stone put the increase down
to the school “marketing itself well
in combination with Grey High,
and competing well with Catholic
“Our NCEA results are as good,
if not better, than several of the
competing boarding schools and
people don’t need to pay the big
fees to come to us,” Mr Stone
He noted that more students were
travelling from Hokitika, and that
had helped the roll to increase again
next year, with 195 enrolments on the
Reefton Area School principal
Wayne Wright said changes there
were part of the “ebb and flow of
students in and out of Reefton”.
“ You can be at the winning end of
the roll one year ... some years you
can get a slight decrease. For us, it ’s
been at the reasonably same level,” Mr
“ We are watching very closely
what ’s happening with the mining
industry, particularly with Oceania
New housing is helping to maintain
roll numbers at Paroa School, but
elsewhere around Greymouth the
school rolls are falling, reflecting the
The past decade has seen contrasting
fortunes for primary schools. Many
have had falling rolls since 2005, but
managed to stabilise in recent years.
Paroa, with 182 pupils this year, has
surpassed Karoro (167) to become
the second largest school in the Grey
Paroa School acting principal
Wendy Hansen said the area had
seen quite a lot of new housing
An extra classroom was added in
term three, with another planned for
“ Year to year it is hard to predict.
It seems to go in waves. We just see
what walks in the door each year,” Ms
Although Paroa has grabbed second
place, that might be short-lived
with growth rates at the Gloriavale
Christian Community, at Lake
Haupiri, where the primary school
roll has risen steadily from 112 pupils
in 2005 to 164 this year.
Grey Main is still the clear No 1
school, sitting at 346 pupils, although
that is also down from a high of 417,
The two Grey Valley schools
Awahono and Paparoa Range —
have both slowly been dropping in
Awahono had 79 pupils this year
but had 125 in 2005. Paparoa had 162
in 2005 but now had 99.
Awahono School principal Vanessa
Wallace said since they had a higher
roll following the mergers in 2005.
“A lot moved to high school. Some
families moved out of the area ...
There are not as many families being
employed around the farm district
She noted that rural areas were also
thinning on the whole.
“It is just getting smaller in general.”
Runanga has fallen to 68 pupils,
having hit a peak of 107 in 2010.
Principal Phillip Graydon put the
drop down to the impact of the Pike
River disaster and Spring Creek
closure since 2010.
“Runanga was probably the most
affected of the schools by those.”
The largest class size was 22, while
the smallest was nine. “ The school
does not have any bus runs, so the
kids here are the local kids.”
Roll size impacted funding, but they
still had “the same amount of grass
to mow and the same number of
classrooms to maintain”, Mr Graydon
Six pupils would move to high
school and 11 would arrive next year.
“The school’s reputation is growing,
I see the roll growing in future.”
Mining slump hits Grey High roll numbers
Paroa growth lifts pupil count
Police are investigating two incidents
of alleged erratic bus driving through
Arthur’s Pass over the past two weeks.
Commercial vehicle investigation
unit sergeant Max Newman said
yesterday they were investigating an
incident on an Atomic bus shuttle
that occurred on December 9 between
Jacksons and Arthur’s Pass, after the
incident and a witness was brought to
their attention by The Press.
Police were also investigating
another incident with the Atomic
shuttle on Wednesday and were
endeavouring to contact two tourists
who were on the bus, who they
believed were now in Q ueenstown.
Mr Newman said they would
need a witness from the bus to take
proceedings any further.
“The problem is, if we can’t get one
there is not a lot we can do ... When
there are tourists involved, they don’t
want to become involved with court
The second incident was brought to
the attention of the Greymouth Star
on Wednesday by an Arthur’s Pass
resident, who spoke to a tourist who
had decided to leave the bus and walk,
claiming that the driver had been
falling asleep at the wheel.
When the Greymouth Star spoke
to Atomic franchise operator Kevin
Reddy on Wednesday he said he would
be talking to the driver but would
have to follow the proper process in
accordance with employment law.
Bus reported to police after ‘erratic driving’
173 Tainui Street, Greymouth
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