Home' Greymouth Star : February 2nd 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Monday, February 2, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
1709 - British sailor Alexander Selkirk is
rescued after being marooned on a desert
island for five years. His story inspired Daniel
Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe.
1848 - Mexico signs the Treaty of Guadalupe
Hidalgo, ceding Texas, New Mexico
and California to the United States.
1918 - Death of John L
(Lawrence) Sullivan, US
professional boxer, who won the
world heavyweight boxing title as a
bareknuckle fighter in 1882 and lost
it in 1892 under Queensberry rules
to Gentleman Jim Corbett in the 21st round.
1943 - German troops surrender to Russians
in Stalingrad after losing 200,000 men.
1969 - Death of Boris Karloff (William
Henry Pratt), British-born film actor.
1971 - Idi Amin assumes power in Uganda
following a coup that ousted President Milton
1979 - After 14 years of exile, Ayatollah
Ruhollah Khomeini returns from Paris and
becomes the de facto leader of Iran.
1979 - Death of British punk rock musician
Sid Vicious, of a drug overdose in New York.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Eleanor (Nell) Gwyn, English actress
(1651-1687); James Joyce, Irish
author (1882-1941); Graham Nash,
English-born pop singer (1942-);
Farrah Fawcett, US actress-model
(1947-2009); Christie Brinkley,
US model (1954-); Eva Cassidy,
US singer (1963-1996); Shakira,
Colombian singer (1977-); Gemma
Arterton, English actress (1986-).
“ Truth has no special time of its own. Its
hour is now — always. ” — Albert Schweitzer,
German-born missionary and Nobel laureate
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new
creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
— (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Now towering 72
feet over Hokitika
is the Televiewer
television mast. It cost the Hokitika ‘square eye’
enthusiasts £50 and, but for an astute business
stroke, would have cost £250. The mast was
obtained from Surplus Stores Board and was
erected last week without a hitch with the
assistance of the Westland Transport Company
At present the mast is sitting on four steel
piles which are embedded 25 feet in the
ground covered by a concrete pad on top,
from which stems the mast. The mast is of
galvanised steel construction painted orange
and silver, and is situated by the town’s old
The mast signals a new landmark in the town
which is at present enjoying its centennial.
Some 34 years ago, a tall, lithe and
remarkably handsome woman stepped ashore
from a motor launch at the South Westland
port of Okarito and left by car for the glaciers.
Today, that same woman is the focal point
of a family whose head was acclaimed as the
greatest man of the century. She is the widow
of Sir Winston Churchill.
The party spent the day at the Franz Josef
Glacier, lunching at the Glacier Hotel which
was owned by the Graham family. While at the
hotel Mrs Churchill autographed a tablecloth
and, in order to retain the signature as a
lasting momento, Mrs Churchill’s name was
embroidered into the cloth.
Little did she or the world realise that within
about 14 years of her Westland visit her
husband would wield the hand which would
change the trend of a world war.
uFood for thought
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It was great to see a photo in the
Greymouth Star ( January 28) of children
enjoying the Runanga swimming pool.
This is a great facility and a credit to Chris
Frogley and the trust that worked so hard,
over so many years to achieve what seemed
like an impossible dream at times.
The lifeguards who work out there are
great — they interact with the children,
organise games, and importantly take the
time to talk with them.
What I would like to ask the council is
why there is no advertising done regarding
this pool? I would not have known the
pool was even open for the season if not
for a photo appearing in the paper. No
mention again in the advertisements that
were placed re when the council facilities
were open or closed over the Christmas
When the aquatic centre is closed for the
never-ending maintenance that is done on
it, would it be so hard to mention that the
Runanga pool is open?
Grey District Council manager corporate
planning and community Quecha
Horning responds: “The Spring Creek
Pool is an amazing asset to the Runanga
community, and a real credit to all the people
who made it happen.
The pool opens in early December and closes
late February or early March each year and
it is open every day except Christmas Day
and New Year’s Day. Council puts out fliers
around Runanga, and provides information
in the rates newsletter, the council website and
it Facebook pages. Staff also encourage patrons
to go to the Spring Creek Pool when the
learner pool is closed, when it is very warm or
The aquatic centre has its scheduled
maintenance during May each, which
unfortunately does not coincide with the
season of the Spring Creek Pool and the fact is
that it is not a heated pool.
Happy to discuss this further in person, if
the writer still has any questions.”
Reefton hall future
The article ‘Reefton raises options for
hall’ (Greymouth Star, January 22) requires
clarification of Heritage New Zealand’s
Comment on the council engineer’s
report by Win Clark, consulting structural
engineer for Heritage NZ and executive
officer for the New Zealand Society of
Earthquake Engineering, did not agree
with the seismic figures presented.
Mr Clark concluded the Reefton
Community Centre’s building type was
such that it would probably perform
better than indicated in an earthquake and
that the seismic assessment figures were
conser vative in their estimation.
This opinion was based on recent
full-scale testing carried out on a school
building by the Ministry of Education.
Heritage NZ supports the community’s
ongoing discussion of the hall’s future and
would like this clarification noted to assist
in the decision-making process.
General manager, Southern Region
Heritage New Zealand
health ser vices
From time to time I receive notes
of meetings where community health
concerns are being discussed in which
the authorities drone on with blather and
twaddle, apparently under the impression
that everyone is taken in. So it is with
notes I have received about discussions (if
that is the appropriate word) about future
Reefton health ser vices.
This recalls the old saying that you can
fool some of the people all the time, all the
people some of the time — but you cannot
fool all the people all of the time.
Apart from the fact that DHB
luminaries outnumber local people on
the Reefton committee (why?), seldom
have I seen notes of a meeting in which
there appear to be absolutely zero ideas
proposed by the DHB ‘experts’.
So what are they there for? Leadership?
If so it is a case of the blind leading the
well-intentioned, with the latter being
powerless do actually do anything.
It was British actor-comedian Kenneth
Williams who said, ‘Nothing good is ever
produced by committee. It is always the
singular talent that creates and excites’.
Years ago Dr Buzz Burrell produced
(without a skerick of bureaucratic-
committee input) a brilliant health scheme
for the Reefton-Inangahua district. Are
we surprised that the authorities — from
then health minister Annette King to the
West Coast DHB ivory tower mob — did
not want to know? An improved, cost-
effective health scheme that would have
cut bureaucracy costs to such an extent
that patient charges could have been
completely abolished? Oh dear me no
— n ot in the post-1993 corporate health
And so the Reefton — and innumerable
other — pretend discussions around New
Zealand will continue until (hope springs
eternal) New Zealand gets a minister of
health prepared to take a stand against the
creeping, cancerous corporatisation of our
once world-leading public health system.
Somewhere in Reefton there must be
an individual — maybe more than one
— who, to use Kenneth Williams’ word,
has the ideas that could ‘create’ something
Speak up or forever see your health
system drowning in bureaucratic blather.
Democrats for Social Credit
In praise of 1080
My friend and I have recently tramped
the Matemateaonga Track in the
Whanganui National Park. Despite being
a seasoned tramper, never before have I
experienced such a healthy native birdlife
— e x c ept in zoo-like places such as Tiritiri
All along the track we encountered
almost tame black robins, the tweet tweet
of the rifleman followed us everywhere.
We heard grey warbler and kakariki, saw
flocks of tomtits and silvereyes, enjoyed
the song of the bellbirds and tui. The
screeching of the long-tailed and shining
cuckoo was constant. The kereru were
fat and healthy. We even saw a New
Zealand falcon circling over a valley. The
birds seemed unstressed and added little
unheard songs to their repertoire.
Thanks to the recent drop of 1080 by
DOC the restoration of our native birdlife
is indeed possible.
When we reached the Whanganui River,
the forest was silent again, an area outside
of the 1080 application. How sad.
DOC needs to keep up the good work,
we owe this to our native wildlife.
A few stories from the past may help
the public understand why there is so
much secrecy about the new hospital.
These should also explain the reasons for
delays in releasing the findings of some
serious incidents. Involvement of both
major political parties can explain how
multiple so-called external investigations
can be co-ordinated to mislead the
A mother from Buller was once
refusing to bring her seriously ill child
to Greymouth Hospital. Bad weather
prevented her from taking the child
elsewhere, so she was able to explain why
she had refused. It was from an era before
the safety culture of Greymouth was
commended, and the findings were never
She said the last time she brought
her other child into hospital ‘they kept
telling me he had a heat rash’. The child
later died of meningococcal meningitis.
I had already heard a different viewpoint
from an anaesthetist with experience
in paediatrics and intensive care. He
had said, ‘I was in the hospital but no
one asked me to help’. Failing to listen
to mother-patient and failing to use
available expertise contributed to the
untimely death, in my view.
Failing to recognise that there
is expertise outside their own by
inexperienced is a common cause of
medical errors. Ways for ward included
better training in team skills and improve
the expertise of the attending hospital
team. The chosen option seems to be to
remove the on-site expertise to such a
low level that similar incidents can be
labelled ‘natural causes’. There are many
more such stories which are kept from
the public, with excuses such as privacy
and ‘under external investigation’.
omestic violence and
deflated footballs have
hogged the off-field
headlines in the Super
Bowl build-up but
concussions were back in
the spotlight at the weekend when Junior
Seau was posthumously inducted into the
Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Seau stalked the NFL gridiron for 20
seasons earning 12 Pro Bowl selections
and a reputation as a feared and ferocious
tackler but on Saturday he entered the
Canton, Ohio shrine as a tragic reminder
of the price paid for playing a violent sport
committing suicide almost three years ago
by shooting himself in the chest.
A study of Seau’s brain revealed that
he suffered from chronic traumatic
encephalopathy, or CTE, a debilitating
brain condition caused by decades of
cranium rattling battles that can lead to
aggression and dementia.
Seau is among a handful of current or
former NFL players who committed
suicide in recent years.
While their deaths could not be directly
tied to the sport, violent or erratic
behaviour is consistent with symptoms of
“I would like to say there will never be
concussions in the NFL but that ’s not
practical given that it is a collision sport
but the NFL has done more than any
organisation I know to manage the risk,”
Dr Matthew Matava, president of the
NFL Physicians Society, said.
“There has been a cultural shift not only
among the players but the coaches and
everyone affiliated with the game in terms
of what a concussion is.
“ We have done a good job of educating
While concussions will never be
eliminated from the NFL, the league is
slowing gaining control of what was once
a misunderstood and neglected epidemic
that left behind generations of damaged
Research linking collisions on the field to
the disease has already prompted the NFL
to make changes, including banning the
most dangerous helmet-to-helmet contact
and requiring teams to keep players who
have taken hits to the head off the field
if they show certain symptoms, including
dizziness and memory gaps.
The National Football League said last
week, the number of reported concussions
dropped 25% during regular season
games in 2014 compared to the previous
There were 111 concussions reported in
2014, down from the 148 during the 2013
season and down nearly 36% from the 173
in 2012, the NFL said during its annual
pre-Super Bowl health and safety news
“P layers are changing the way they ’re
tackling,” said Jeff Miller, the NFL senior
vice president of health and safety policy.
“They ’re changing the way they play the
“S houlder to helmet and helmet-to-
helmet hits are disappearing from the
New rules, new technology, education
have helped remove them most dangerous
hits from the game but the changes have
come too late for generations of former-
players, who are part of a ground-breaking
lawsuit over concussions suffered on the
The proposed settlement that was worth
$765 million and under judicial review
would ensure payments of up to
$5 million to any retired player who
develops neurological impairments.
“Certainly there is a lot of work still to
be done,” said Matava. “ But nothing in
sport medicine has exploded more in the
research front than concussion assessment.
“The NFL has made significant strides
with the money they have contributed
to grants, upwards of $60m to study
“ Players do want to keep playing. There
is an old saying in the NFL you don’t
make the club in the tub.
“That ’s the reality of the business.”
Concussions in spotlight
Junior Seau makes a tackle during his playing days.
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