Home' Greymouth Star : February 5th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Thursday, February 5, 2015
We appreciate the value of the Letters to the Editor
column as a public forum for West Coasters and
welcome your opinion and suggestions.
Letters may be submitted by post, fax or e-mail and
must include your name, address, phone number
and — except for e-mails — your signature. Noms
de plume are not accepted.
Please keep your letters honest, respectful and
within 300 words. Letter writers will generally not
be published more often than weekly. The Editor
reserves the right to edit or not publish letters,
especially those that are offensive or too long.
Post to PO Box 3, Greymouth, fax to 768 6205 or
e-mail to email@example.com
uLetters to the editor
1811 - British Regency Act is passed,
whereby the Prince of Wales becomes Prince
Regent during King George III’s temporary
1862 - The United States issues its first
“greenback” bills, nicknamed for
1869 - Nugget known as The
Welcome Stranger, yielding
69.92 kg of pure gold, is found at
1922 - Reader’s Digest begins
publication in New York.
1941 - Death of Australian poet
Andrew Barton “Banjo” Paterson.
1945 - US troops under General Douglas
Macarthur enter Manila, Philippines, in World
1946 - Death of George Arliss, British stage
and film actor who won an Oscar.
1989 - Rupert Murdoch launches Sky
Television in Britain.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Sir Robert Peel, English statesman (1788-
1850); John Lindley, English botanist
(1799-1865); Peter Lalor, Australian goldminer
of Eureka Stockade fame (1827-1889);
John Boyd Dunlop, Scottish inventor of the
pneumatic rubber tyre (1840-1921);
William S Burroughs, US writer
(1914-1997); Andreas Papandreou,
first Greek prime minister (1919-
1996); Red Buttons, US comedian
(1919-2006); Charlotte Rampling,
British actress (1946-); Jennifer Jason
Leigh, US actress (1962-); Duff
McKagan, US rock musician of Guns N’ Roses
fame (1964-); Bobby Brown, US singer (1969-);
Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.
“ Many excellent words are ruined by too
definite a knowledge of their meaning.”
— Aline Kilmer, American poet (1888-1941).
“ In Him we have redemption through His
blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the
riches of His grace.” — (Ephesians 1:7).
A new ‘tourist
attraction’ has been
found on the West
Coast. The discovery
was made by Mr H Tuck on Tuesday, when he
stopped his truck to remove a branch from the
road, three-and-a-half miles on the Kopara side
of Nelson Creek.
Having thrown the branch away, Mr Tuck
looked skywards to see whence it came. His gaze
became rivited on a strange object clinging to
the bark of a tree trunk, 35 feet from the ground
and 15 feet from the side of the road. Before his
eyes was a substantial cone-shaped wasps’ nest,
8ft in length, 4ft in width and about 3ft 6in
The wasps’ nest has attracted a number of
sightseers. Although a considerable number
of people have viewed the nest, no reports
of anyone being stung have been received.
Witnesses state the wasps keep close to their
The Greymouth Lions Club’s ambitious
project of a civic centre was now bigger and
better, and construction was about to begin, Dr
B M Dallas, president of the club said today.
“The project is now estimated to cost about
£100,000 — for the first stage,” he continued.
“ With £20,000 now in hand and fundraising
commenced in earnest, the project is assured of
“Lion Jack Beban is a full-time organiser and
has proved an outstanding success as a publicity
man and fundraiser,” Dr Dallas continued.
Greymouth’s citizens were behind the club
with a unanimity seldom seen on the West
Coast before, and once construction began,
fundraising efforts would really start in earnest.
The club had already raised about £5000
through its own efforts.
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
Greymouth Evening Star Co Limited
3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
03 769 7900 (office)
769 7913 (editorial)
768 6205 (fax)
03 769 7913
03 755 8422
It was 175 years ago, tomorrow, that
Queen Victoria’s representative, Captain
William Hobson, secured these islands
for the British Empire.
According to the Waitangi Tribunal,
however, that is not what the chieftains
of the north believed was happening.
The tribunal’s historians flatly reject the
idea that, in signing Captain Hobson’s
treaty, the chiefs had voluntarily ceded all
political authority to these pale-skinned
men in their uncomfortable woollen
coats, starched collars and feathered hats.
Personally, I’m not so sure this was
the case. Contemporary records of the
debates at Waitangi on February 5 and 6,
1840 make it clear that everybody present
knew exactly what was going on.
One of the more important things
that Maori knew in February 1840 was
that when it came to the disposition of
cultural, economic and military power in
Niu Tirani (as they called New Zealand)
Maori were very much in charge.
Sure, the British were powerful. Indeed,
there were Maori leaders present at
Waitangi that day who had seen for
themselves just how powerful the British
were. But, those same Maori were equally
aware of how very far away Britain was,
and of how much effort it required to
successfully navigate the 12,000 miles
that separated the River Thames from
the Bay of Islands. It would be a very
long time, they calculated, before the
treaty they had just signed amounted to
anything more than words on paper.
They were wrong about that.
Just a quarter of a century later, in
1865, there were as many British
soldiers serving in New Zealand as
there were miles separating them from
their homeland. They were not just here
for show. General Cameron’s 12,000
imperial troops were slowly but surely
demonstrating to the Maori king,
Tawhiao, and his allies, that, when it
came to the disposition of cultural,
economic and military power, the tangata
whenua were no longer in charge.
The pale-skinned men in their
uncomfortable woollen coats, starched
collars and outlandish head-gear were
rapidly taking the Maori’s place — and
their land. Since 1840, tens of thousands
of Pakeha had made the journey to Niu
Tirani — and they had come to stay.
Fast-for warding 150 years to 2015, let
us put ourselves in the same position
as those Maori leaders at Waitangi on
the day the treaty was signed. Looking
for ward a quarter of a century, to the
bicentenary of the treaty’s signing in
2040, how much will have changed, and
how much will have stayed the same?
Something tells me that the changes of
the next 25 years will be as great — if not
greater — than those which over whelmed
Niu Tirani between 1840 and 1865.
There will, of course, be plenty of New
Zealanders, Maori and Pakeha, who
disagree: foreseeing no serious alteration
to the status quo. Like the Maori leaders
of 1840, they are confident that the
balance of cultural, economic and military
forces will endure. Some on the Maori
side may even predict a strengthening of
the indigenous people’s position.
I do not share their confidence.
The New Zealand I foresee taking
shape in 25 years’ time will be profoundly
different. Its ethnic composition and
cultural preoccupations will reflect the
burgeoning regional dominance of
the People’s Republic of China. Long
before the bicentenary of the treaty, the
number of New Zealanders with familial
connections to China will have easily
surpassed the numbers identifying as
tangata whenua. Mandarin will be the
second language of New Zealand — not
Rising sea levels, due to global warming,
will also have driven hundreds of
thousands of Pacific island people to New
Zealand’s shores. By 2040, their numbers,
too, will exceed those of Maori.
In 25 years, Pakeha New Zealanders
will still constitute a majority of the
population — but only just. And these
will be much changed from the Pakeha
The worldwide economic crisis of
the 2020s, during which New Zealand
abandoned its historical relationships
with Britain and the United States, and
the threw in its lot, irrevocably, with the
People’s Republic, will have driven New
Zealand’s political elites steadily towards
the tightly-managed form of democracy
currently obser vable in Hong Kong.
The generous biculturalism of the late-
20th and early-21st centuries, with its
treaty settlements and co-management of
key resources, will have fallen among the
first casualties of New Zealand’s strategic
turn from west to east.
Indeed, so much may have changed
by 2040 that the Treaty of Waitangi’s
bicentenary passes unnoticed and
Chris Trotter is a left-wing political
Fast forward: What will NZ look like in 2040?
Re your article Greymouth Star ( January
29) on bad drivers around the Coast as
reported by local truckies, I would have
to agree with Durham Havill’s comment
“ impatient drivers are the most dangerous
of the whole lot ”.
More than a month has past since I
reported to Westland Milk about one of
their drivers monstering my wife as she
was returning from Greymouth with our
daughter-in-law and grand-daughter
in the car showing what can only be
described as aggressive and unacceptable
behaviour from a ‘professional driver’,
perhaps I should have reported it to the
police instead of letting Westland deal
with this incident in house.
At the time I spoke to the dispatcher
I asked to be notified of the outcome
of their inquiry, it has been more than
a month now and our phone is still
connected, perhaps the problem is at your
end. Perhaps Scott Alison would care to
reply via your letters to the editor column.
I note the West Coast District Health
Board is having trouble attracting a
corporate accountant and are looking
at someone based in Christchurch
(Greymouth Star, January 31).
Might I suggest that the best option may
be to base the accountant in Sierra Leone
with no visits to Greymouth.
Bird obser vations
I would like to briefly comment on
Ulrike Stephan’s letter (Greymouth Star,
February 2). I do not wish to go into any
detail but would like to ask a couple of
How many birds are required to make
up a flock of tomtits? How long would it
take a New Zealand falcon, flying around
and around in circles, before it got giddy?
Perhaps that is why falcons fly in straight
lines. And finally, does Mr Stephan work
for DOC? Also, how many pink elephants
did he see? Because, this letter is so far
removed from fact that I think there
could be a little bit of New Zealand green
With respect to the furore over Ms
Catton — it is a basic tenet of professional
endeavour that expertise in one field does
not translate into expertise in an unrelated
If, for example, my teapot won an award
for best designed teapot, in that, unlike
most teapots, it could actually brew and
pour tea, well that would be a fine thing.
Consider, however, the situation where
my teapot took the occasion of the award
ceremony to hold forth on the sanctity of
the Patagonian toothfish.
In such a case the debate ought not to
be whether or not the teapot has a right to
comment on the matter, nor whether the
issue is important or not. These questions
are not relevant.
The relevant matter is, firstly, whether it
was appropriate for my teapot to hijack
the award ceremony for its own strident
and divergent political purposes, and
secondly, why should we take any notice
anyway of what a teapot thinks of such
Why would a teapot ’s opinion on the
Patagonian toothfish, simply by virtue
of celebrity, have any more validity than
that of a lowly and unknown toothbrush.
A check in the cupboards will show that
there are usually more toothbrushes than
there are teapots.
Now, had my teapot taken the occasion
to comment on the state of the kettle —
that would have been a different matter.
Who could doubt its expertise in the pot
calling the kettle black?
Your article January 29, re the new
museum site refers.
The old courthouse is owned by the
Department of Justice, but on Mawhera
Incorporation land. I am completely
perplexed as to how this could happen as
the Department of Justice did, I believe,
own both the courthouse and the land.
Does the taxpayer now pay lease for the
building on that land? Does the ratepayer
now pay the rates?
Was the agreement for land, tax, and
lease all signed at the same time?
Is the old BNZ the same type of deal,
but in this case does the ratepayer pay
both the lease and the rates?
Perhaps this is why the ratepayer is
committed to pay the Regent Theatre trust
$80,000 a year for — lease and rates.
Are there any more of these types of
The council’s paying of vast amounts
of ratepayers’ money directly to the
landholders is in contradiction of prudent
council procedure. They are committing
the people of the Grey area to a lifetime
debt that gives them nothing in return.
The recent article about death of mother
and child in Waikato demonstrated
the dangers of independent midwifery
without adequate training.
Without a functioning hospital, such
dangers are even greater for those living
in the West Coast. However, singling
out midwifery training and independent
midwives’ simply diverts attention away
from a greater widespread problems of
clinical training. Independent practitioners
with a university degree and only a few
years of practical training is dangerous,
even in a hospital.
Many of the serious hospital incidents
published from around the country show
that the problems related to clinical
training and care delivery is not restricted
Traditionally, hospitals had a crucial role
in clinical education as well as providing
a health care ser vice. This ser vice used to
extend to any medical problems outside
the scope of a GP or a community
midwife. Often considerable training
beyond university degrees is needed to
develop expertise, simply to recognise
when a medical inter vention or referral is
There are about 40 different medical and
surgical specialties with varying degrees of
overlap. It is impossible even for a doctor
with the broadest hospital training to
Safe hospital medical care requires a
competent team where members who have
complementary and overlapping skills.
In a rural hospital like Greymouth there
are fewer people in a team. This means
that many of the team members need to
have a greater level of knowledge than in
a larger hospital. Even greater knowledge
is needed to provide telephone advice to
someone at the other end of the phone
working outside their scope of expertise.
Much of this is neglected in health care
ne hundred years ago
today, a skinny young
labourer from Ngatimoti
died on a dusty field
on the other side of the
While repulsing a Turkish attack on the
Suez Canal on February 3, 1915, Private
William Arthur Ham, 22, was hit by a
bullet that deflected off his rifle and broke
He died in hospital two days later,
making him the first New Zealander
killed in battle during World War One.
The whole nation mourned the loss
of the black-haired, blue-eyed soldier
from a hamlet 10km from Motueka, and
member of the 12th (Nelson) Company,
Canterbury Infantry Battalion of the NZ
But there would be no reprieve
from grief, as more than 18,000 New
Zealanders died during the Great War of
Today, about 150 people, including
direct descendants of Private “ Willie”
Ham, the local community, the Motueka
RSA and military top brass will gather
at Ngatimoti’s Saint James Church for a
memorial ser vice.
For years, Private Ham’s place in New
Zealand history “felt like a family tale ...
one that we’d made up”, said great-grand-
niece Ashley Mackenzie-White.
But historians have confirmed he was the
first combat casualty, and his 29-year-old
descendant believes today ’s memorial will
add to his recognition.
“ It’s a weird situation that I’m so lucky
that my ancestor’s death is so significant,”
said Ms Mackenzie-White, who is unable
to attend the ser vice but will be laying a
wreath at the National War Memorial in
“ For so many families, they just have a
medical record or the tales their families
have kept alive, or not.” Of the 14 men
who enlisted from Ngatimoti, 11 were
killed in action or died from their wounds;
one died of sickness and only two lived to
return to New Zealand, both wounded.
Peter Millward, chief executive of
Nelson Provincial Museum, said Private
Ham’s death had a huge impact — not
least on his commanding officer, fellow
Ngatimoti man Major Cyprian Bridge
“ Half of these guys were related, and the
rest knew one another’s families and did
so for years. The impact on the community
lasted for years, and the impact on a
tight-knit group of men ser ving together
must ’ve been shocking. ”
Major Brereton ensured that Private
Ham was not buried in a mass grave,
but given the dignity of burial with full
military honours at Ismailia European
Local soldiers’ memorabilia — including
diaries and a rare, recently discovered
photograph of Private Ham’s funeral —
have been collated by Nelson Provincial
Museum and Motueka District Museum,
and will be on display today at Saint James
Defence Force chief Lieutenant General
Tim Keating said: “ The death of Private
William Ham was a significant event
for all New Zealanders in 1915 and
it is fitting that the NZDF returns to
Ngatimoti to acknowledge him and the
ser vice and sacrifice of all New Zealanders
in the First World War.”
New Zealand’s first World War One
casualty, William Arthur Ham, was born
in Ireland on April 14, 1892.
In 1900, his parents, William Edward
Ham and Hester Hawthorne Ham, set
sail for New Zealand on the ship Athenic.
The Hams settled in tiny Ngatimoti, near
William (Arthur) Ham was working
as a labourer for the Waimea County
Council sur vey team when war was
declared on August 5, 1914.
The former cadet and keen territorial
soldier soon enlisted and embarked from
Wellington with the main body of the
Canterbury Infantry Battalion on October
On board the Athenic — the same
ship that brought the Ham family to
New Zealand — he reached Suez, in
Egypt, on December 3.
The joint Australian and New Zealand
contingent set up camp at Zeitoun,
just outside Cairo, under went extensive
training and, when off duty, they went
On February 3, 1915, the New Zealand
Infantry Brigade was engaged in repulsing
a Turkish attack on the Suez Canal when
Private Ham was shot. He died two days
His brother, Thomas Henry Merrick
(Harry) Ham, enlisted several months
Harry sur vived the war, but died of
illness while ser ving in the Pacific during
World War Two.
— New Zealand Herald
First World War One casualty
Private William Arthur Ham
Links Archive February 4th 2015 February 7th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page