Home' Greymouth Star : January 27th 2015 Contents www.greystar.co.nz
Repairs at last for
Greymouth’s worst street
$1 (Home Delivery 75c)
TUESDAY, JANUARY 27, 2015
Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
ne 769 7900
Is this the tomb of
of the Westport News
ser ved on Coast
killed in a
near Timaru last
for about four
years. Senior sergeant Hohi Randel
Tikitiki, 51, and his friend Alfred
( Jack) Mehlhopt, 86, had set off on a
routine training flight from Richard
Pearse Airport at 7pm on Friday,
but crashed 30 minutes later. Mr
Tikitiki was stationed in Greymouth
from 2002 to about 2005 as head of
the West Coast Highway Patrol. A
former colleague, retired Hokitika
constable Kyle Scott, said it was
a tragic loss. “He policed from
Karamea to Haast and along State
highway 73. He was a very pleasant,
affable, man, who was keen to have
his staff work as a team,” Mr Scott
found in raid
Stolen clothing was found when
police searched a Preston Road
house, in Blaketown, yesterday.
The search followed the theft of
clothing from the Visitor Centre
in Punakaiki a few days ago. Police
said the stolen items were located
at the house and a 23-year-old man
who is visiting Greymouth from
Hamilton was arrested and charged
A woman told she would never
be able to give birth now has more
than 150 children, grandchildren,
great-grandchildren and great-
Derrick, 88, of Knowle, Bristol, was
plagued by rheumatic fever as a
child which left her with a tiny 4ft
8in frame, and doctors said it was
unlikely she would ever be able to
carry a baby. However, she went on
to have 14 children with husband
Dennis. “ The doctor told me if I
managed to have one baby then I
could have a dozen. I kept him to
his word. It can be tough keeping
track of everyone but I do love them
all.” Mrs Derrick suffered three
bouts of rheumatic fever during her
teenage years and her parents were
told it was likely she would never
have children. The inflammatory
disease, which occurs as a result
of becoming infected by group A
streptococci bacteria, can lead to
heart failure and inflammation of
joints. — The Daily Mail
Fine, showers around the ranges
Castle Hill on standby
Conditions are explosive as a bushfire
alongside the Arthur’s Pass highway
tripled in size overnight, but there is a
glimmer of hope today as firefighters
continue to battle the flames.
Eight helicopters struggled to contain
the fire yesterday afternoon and overnight
it spread across a further 200ha of scrub on
Flock Hill Station, having already burned
State highway 73 was closed between
5-7pm along a 2km stretch opposite the
Craigieburn Forest Park as the road was
used to refill helicopter monsoon buckets.
This morning at least 10 helicopters had
been requisitioned to battle the fire.
fire technical support officer Craig
Alexander was “cautiously optimistic”
today of improving conditions after the
thermometer topped 30degC at 4pm
With light winds and lower temperatures
forecast today “we hope this will be in our
“ Yesterday it was like trying to contain
a raging bull with baling twine, with
the variable winds and other conditions
causing the fire to be very unpredictable
and explosive at times,” Mr Alexander
The fire posed “a major threat ” to native
species plus skifields and lodges in the
Craigieburn Forest Park, but fortunately
the fire had not jumped the road.
Castle Hill residents were on notice to
evacuate if the wind changed, and fire
breaks using a chemical retardant were
“The fire and terrain are still too
hazardous for crews to fight the fire on the
ground, and four new crews this morning
are continuing to assist with aerial
operations,” he said.
New Zealand Transport Agency
communications manager Jan McCarthy
said motorists should proceed with caution
due to per vading smoke along that section
of State highway, but the road was open to
Minor delays should be expected while
burned trees were being cleared along a
2km section of the road .
“I understand that visibility at that point
(is) about 300m,” Ms McCarthy said late
Meanwhile, West Coast and DOC
firefighters have been put on standby.
Fire Service trans-alpine fire region
assistant commander Mark Boere, of
Greymouth, said a national request had
gone out for fire crews to also be on
standby, but there had been no formal
request for West Coast firefighters yet.
Motorists faced delays from 5 o’clock as
the highway was closed to all traffic for
about two hours.
Lake Kaniere-bound Drew Howat got
as far as the Christchurch side of the
Craigieburn Cutting just before the road
The fire was clearly visible from there and
conditions were obviously “dry as a bone”.
“It (the fire) had clearly started on the
side of the road ... then it went east from
A long line of vehicles waited as the
road was used to refill helicopter monsoon
buckets. Some vehicles were allowed
through at 7pm with the rest about 30
minutes later, Mr Howat said.
The West Coast Shuttle was held up
for three hours, co-proprietor Marlene
Diverting the shuttle through the Lewis
Pass would have added hours to the
“It was the right decision to sit and wait
with our passengers, because we got to
town at a similar time,” Mrs Trounson
A Westport conservationist will return
a prestigious award given to him by
environmental group Forest and Bird
in protest at the group’s support of 1080
Pete Lusk says he is particularly upset
that 25 rare rock wren cannot be found in
Kahurangi National Park following a 1080
The 67-year-old said he had supported
Forest and Bird for most of his life and
had been a member of the organisation off
He travelled to Wellington yesterday
to return the Old Blue award the group
gave him about 10 years ago for forest
conser vation. Each year, Forest and Bird
presented the Old Blue to a handful of
members who had done outstanding work
in conser vation.
Mr Lusk said the missing rock wrens
triggered his decision to return his award.
The Department of Conser vation has
been unable to find 25 of 39 monitored
rock wren following a Battle for Our Birds
1080 drop in Kahurangi National Park.
However, it says there was no evidence to
suggest 1080 knocked them out and says
snowfall might have been responsible.
Mr Lusk said rock wren were extremely
rare and lived in tiny isolated colonies.
He was 99% sure 1080 had killed the
birds. To say the snowfall might have been
responsible was “spin doctoring” as the
birds were used to snowstorms, he said.
He said DOC knew 1080 killed fern
birds, which, like rock wren, ate insects.
He thought the department had ignored
advice that 1080 could kill the rock wren
and he said it was experimenting with one
of New Zealand ’s rarest species.
Mr Lusk said Forest and Bird’s support
of the poison was “like a religion”. He
believed most of its members lived in the
cities and did not see what was going on.
He was considering withdrawing his
support for the group altogether and
thought the group might go down over
the 1080 issue.
He thought he had been a valuable
supporter of the group on the West Coast.
Forest and Bird’s advocacy manager
Kevin Hackwell said Mr Lusk was a
worthy recipient of the Old Blue award.
He said Forest and Bird respected Mr
Lusk’s difference of opinion on 1080 but
thought he might have been getting ahead
of himself when it came to the rock wren
as it was not yet known whether they had
While the majority of Forest and Bird
members supported the use of 1080, some
opposed it but supported other work the
group did, Mr Hackwell said.
Years ago Forest and Bird had concerns
about the poison itself but it had changed
its view as those concerns were met,
evidence came in and methods changed. It
now thought it was the best tool available,
he said. — Westport News
A Greymouth man says he does
not know why he took a hammer
and extensively damaged the
property where he lived after
consuming alcohol and cannabis
early this year.
James Ronald McBride, 19,
pleaded guilty in the Westport
District Court on Friday to a
charge of wilful damage and a
charge of intentional damage.
Police prosecutor Steven Greer
said that on January 11, McBride
was at the Marsden Road property
in Greymouth, where he lived with
two flatmates. His flatmates were
away and he consumed vodka and
cannabis and became intoxicated.
He took a hammer and began
smashing items, including a flat
screen television, doors, a stove,
walls and window. He pulled down
curtains and upturned and threw
He told police he did not know
why he had acted the way he did.
Mr Greer said $600 reparations
were sought for the television and
$12,000 for damage to the house.
Judge Noel Walsh said one of the
victims of the damage was overseas
but the other was on the Coast.
Defending, Eymard Bradley
agreed with Judge Walsh that
restorative justice and a reparation
report would be appropriate.
Judge Walsh convicted McBride
on both charges and remanded
him until March 26 for restorative
report with a reparation report.
— Westport News
House trashed with hammer
returns Forest and Bird award
Weeks of hot sunny weather and
virtually no rain has escalated the fire
risk on the West Coast — particularly
in the Grey Valley and south, Fire
Ser vice trans-alpine fire region assistant
commander Mark Boere said today.
The Flock Hill fire was a timely
reminder that tinder dry conditions
could quickly become a problem on the
Coast because of the type and density of
vegetation, Mr Boere said.
Conditions between no rain and
extreme fire risk “can rapidly increase”
in a shorter period of time on the Coast
than in Canterbury, he said.
It meant people needed to think
seriously now about the necessity of a
“ It’s certainly a point whether people
need to have a fire ... the question would
be whether or not at this point in time
they should have a fire. ”
Forecast rain at the weekend was
unlikely to have much effect any time
“Certainly there’s a burst of rain that ’s
due this weekend, but what that won’t
do is change the underlying fire risk at
this time of the year.”
All fires need to be permitted
either from the district council or
the Department of Conser vation,
depending on the location.
West Coast put on fire alert
PICTURE: Westport News
PICTURE: Latham Martin
State highway 73 traffic queues as the fire rages at Craigieburn, near Flock Hill.
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