Home' Greymouth Star : December 29th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
6 - Monday, December 29, 2014
This year began with the aviation
industry celebrating a century of
passenger flights — it ends with a jet
with 162 aboard missing while flying
from Indonesia to Singapore.
Since the first commercial flight in
Tampa, Florida, on January 1, 1914,
safety has been a preoccupation of the
industry and the rate of commercial
aviation fatalities had been trending
down for the three billion people who fly
But 2014 has been different. Plane
crashes in Mali, Taiwan and most
prominently the loss of two Malaysia
Airlines planes had pushed the number
of fatalities to close to 800, the worst year
Yesterday, flight QZ8501 belonging to
Air Asia Indonesia — a carrier that had
its origins in Malaysia — lost contact
with air traffic controllers after requesting
a new flight path because of bad weather
and has not been heard from since.
Kuala Lumpur-based Air Asia perfectly
fits the model of a number of aggressive
and successful low budget carriers that
have taken off in South-east Asia —
modern planes, low labour costs, quick
turnaround times and, for passengers, a
In the passenger-voted Skytrax awards
it has taken the “world’s best low-cost
airline” for six years in a row. Air Asia
has spread to five other countries with
joint ventures in the region, including
Since Air Asia started in 2001, there
have, reportedly, been no fatal crashes
or serious safety issues. Its international
long-haul arm Air Asia X (which
flew for around a year between Kuala
Lumpur and Christchurch, until 2012)
gets a moderate four out of seven
for safety, according to AirlineRatings.
The missing A320 aircraft at just over
six years old is nearly twice the average
age of the Air Asia fleet, which the airline
says is one of the youngest in the region.
It had undergone its last scheduled
maintenance a little over a month ago
and was flown by pilots with more than
8000 flying hours between them.
The A320 is the backbone of airlines
throughout Asia — where it was quickly
added to fleets — and the world over,
including carriers here. Of more than
3600 of the planes in ser vice there have
been just 26 serious accidents since the
1980s reported to the middle of the year,
with just over 600 fatalities.
With any aircraft loss there are no
simple, single answers but a combination
of factors, and this will be the case if
QZ8501 has crashed.
MH17 and Malaysia Airlines
Flight 17 from Amsterdam to Kuala
Lumpur was shot down on July 17
over territory in eastern Ukraine
controlled by pro-Russian separatists.
New Zealanders Rob Ayley and Mary
Menke were among the 298 killed.
The first sections of wreckage
arrived in the Netherlands this month.
MH370 and Malaysia Airlines
Flight 370 disappeared on March 8 en
route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
New Zealanders Paul Weeks and Ximin
Wang were among the 239 on board.
It probably crashed in the Indian
Ocean, but search teams have found no
trace of it.
Australia’s Transportation Safety
Bureau has been leading a deep-sea
search for the plane over a 55,000
square kilometres priority area.
of the New Zealand Herald
Lawyers are raising money to enable
a much-loved Auckland court social
worker to keep doing good work
after her church-funded job was
Michelle Kidd — honoured with a
Queen’s Ser vice Medal in 2010 for
years of ser vice to the community —
worked for the Methodist Mission’s
Lifewise social ser vice.
Her job officially ended after
Lifewise brought in a new strategic
business plan, which did not include
her court role.
A permanent fixture at the Auckland
District Court for more than 16 years,
she has assisted defendants, victims
and their families.
She helps people prepare for court
appearances, provides them with food
and accommodation at the mission,
cares for children while people
make their court appearances and,
where necessary, deals with funeral
Stunned by the prospect of losing
Mrs Kidd’s invaluable and selfless
ser vice, lawyers rallied this week to
find a way to finance her work.
The Criminal Bar Association
(CBA) set up Te Rangimarie
Charitable Trust to raise money.
President Tony Bouchier says $10,000
was immediately provided by the
CBA and more will be raised from
lawyer contributions and other court
“stakeholders” such as the Ministry of
Justice, police and probation ser vice.
Mr Bouchier says money raised
by the trust will be overseen by the
Methodist Mission, not Lifewise, to
pay Mrs Kidd and her expenses.
“ Lawyers, judges and court staff
are shocked by the news, especially
coming at Christmas when the courts
are busy with alcohol and family
violence issues. She’s such an integral
part of the daily running of the courts.
“Everyone relies on her. She is a
champion of the poor, homeless,
addicted and down-trodden —
calling them all ‘my people’. For
many prison inmates she is their only
contact with the outside world. They
write to her and she writes back.”
Mr Bouchier says many people
credited Mrs Kidd with being
driving force behind the
establishment of specialist drug and
alcohol courts and a new beginnings
court, aimed at helping homeless
She told the Herald she carried
on working despite her role being
disestablished, but word got around
the lawyers quickly.
“I was about to pack up my room
and go. This is just amazing. I’m really
over whelmed and humbled by the
— New Zealand Herald
As Elsje and Coenraad Pretorius
gaze into their baby daughter
Nadine’s eyes there is not a hint of
the drama that almost separated them
forever in September.
Nadine was five days old when she
was taken from Mrs Pretorius’s room
at Middlemore Hospital’s maternity
unit by a stranger.
Mrs Pretorius was showering in
her room’s en suite, just metres from
where Nadine was sleeping.
The stranger scooped up the baby
and walked out of the hospital.
It was a harrowing eight hours
before police reunited Nadine with
her panicked parents.
Three months on, Nadine is thriving
and her parents have recovered from
that agonising night. But it has not
“It’s been a rollercoaster ride, really
hectic,” Mrs Pretorius said from
the family’s new home in South
Auckland, decorated for their first
Christmas with their three
“It took me two weeks before I
could really bond with Nadine, before
I could spend any real time with her.
“ We moved house just after it
happened and then friends and
family and people from our church —
everyone was coming to see us.
“It was a very emotional time for
all of us, really stressful. It’s only
really been in the last month that
everything has settled.”
She often relived the horrifying
moment she realised her daughter was
“Here at home I also shower in
an en suite, with Nadine’s bed just
outside. A few times I have thought
‘ what if I go out and she’s not there
Some of the family are still having
counselling. Her two older daughters
have nightmares about being taken, or
Nadine being snatched again.
“I think I was so busy trying to
cope with a new baby and the other
children and the trauma and moving
house that I didn’t have time to think
about anyone taking her.
“But subconsciously I must have
been worried, I never took my eye off
her,” Mrs Pretorius said.
“But it’s much better now.”
The family were keen to put what
happened behind them and enjoy
Christmas together in their new
“ We are staying at home, it’s easier
with a new baby. We just want to
spend time together,” Mrs Pretorius
Mr and Mrs Pretorius will reser ve
any judgment on the couple charged
with Nadine’s abduction until they
hear the full story at sentencing
behind why their baby was taken.
“All I know is they looked after her,
they fed her, they cuddled her and
gave her a warm blanket.
“That ’s probably why we are not
upset,” Mrs Pretorius said.
She hopes 2015 will mean good
health for Nadine and her children
will feel safe and secure again.
Loni Marsh, 27, pleaded guilty
to a charge of kidnapping baby
Nadine and an unrelated charge of
driving while disqualified. She will
be sentenced next month. A 31-year-
old man charged with kidnapping
previously pleaded not guilty and
elected trial by jury.
Since Nadine’s kidnapping
Middlemore Hospital has reviewed
security and is considering a number
of changes to prevent similar
incidents, including an alert system
that could be activated if a baby was
taken outside an authorised area.
Additional security cameras have also
— New Zealand Herald
The unmarked burial plots of
psychiatric patients and others
at Waitati Cemetery should be
honoured with a plaque, local
historian Allan Steel says.
Mr Steel contacted the Otago
Daily Times after the newspaper
published a story on unmarked
graves at the Andersons Bay
Cemetery, many of whom were
Seacliff lunatic asylum patients.
Mr Steel, of Waikouaiti, said
172 unmarked burials were
identified at Waitati, the last
buried in 1983, but a large
proportion were clustered in the
1930s and 1940s.
The unmarked plots are shown
on the Dunedin City Council’s
Waitati Cemetery plan, and the
people buried were registered on
the council’s database.
Mr Steel said the registry was
a useful resource for families and
There was no indication on the
site of the unmarked graves, and
people should know when they
visited the cemetery, he believed.
The site should have a plaque
that included acknowledgement
many of the people had been
residents of local institutions.
“They just get forgotten about,
there’s not even a sign that says
‘paupers’ area’ or whatever. ”
Visitors might bring children
who would play on the site and
“some people would be horrified
to think they had the kids running
round on top of graves”.
Mr Steel, who is making a
photographic record of burial
plots in East Otago, estimated
about 85% of the unmarked
institutions such as Cherry Farm.
There were also babies, influenza
victims, and paupers.
The plots were not mass graves,
Yesterday the Otago Daily
Times reported Des Scully, of
Perth, had discovered his great-
grandmother, Mary Scully, was
buried in an unmarked grave at
Andersons Bay Cemetery. Mr
Scully has called for a memorial
garden and a plaque naming each
person buried there.
In response, council parks,
recreation and aquatics manager
Mick Reece said Mr Scully
should put the proposal to the
council for consideration and staff
would advise him of its feasibility.
— Otago Daily Times-NZME
caps year of
Lawyers act to keep court ‘angel’
Historian calls for
plaque to honour
unmarked burial plots
Kidnap terror haunts family
Elsje, Coenraad and Nadine
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