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WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2015
Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
Chinese New Year
Another church honesty box has
been raided in South Westland,
this time at the Franz Josef Glacier
Anglican church. It follows similar
incidents at Ross and Hari Hari in
the past 10 days. West Coast police
response manager senior sergeant
Phil Barker said the latest theft,
between February 12 and 15, was
from a metal strongbox bolted to
the wall near the entrance of
St James Church. An estimated $50
A Franz Josef Glacier resident
arrived home yesterday after three
weeks away to find their house
had been burgled. Police said the
house was completely ransacked,
with furniture upended and the
contents of cupboards and drawers
emptied on to the floor. Among
the items missing were a guitar and
a telescope. The resident had been
away since January 21.
A British tourist who did a good
turn to fellow travellers came to
regret the decision yesterday when
he realised his $360 puffer jacket
had gone. The man picked up a
pair of French and Taiwanese
hitchhikers at Gillespies Beach,
dropping them off at Franz Josef
Glacier. He later discovered that
his jacket which had been on the
backseat was gone.
Scattered showers, heavy afternoon
It appears that parents were
even playing the originality game
with their offspring right back
in the 19th century. According
to a hilarious list of historic baby
names, children born in the 1800s
were given names such as Mineral
Waters and Friendless Baxter by
their highly-amused parents. Joseph
and Ann Cope’s child was given the
name Leicester Railway after being
born in a carriage at the station in
1863. Another young girl was given
the name Windsor to go with her
surname Castle, while one poor boy
from Walthamstow was labelled
One Too Many when he was born
in 1870. The entertaining list was
put together by genealogy firm
Fraser and Fraser in London.
— Daily Mail
The father of the man who leased
a Rotomanu farm where hundred of
star ving cows had to be euthanised
or slaughtered told the Greymouth
District Court yesterday he felt
suicidal after wards.
Robert Usher and his son Jeremy,
who held the lease, have both
previously admitted Ministry of
Primary Industries (MPI) charges
of animal cruelty and were to be
sentenced today in the Christchurch
Usher was in the Greymouth court
yesterday to give evidence in the MPI
prosecution of the Rotomanu farm
owner David Anthony Ham, who
has denied charges of failing to meet
the physical health needs of 636 dairy
cattle, and the reckless ill-treatment
of 152 others.
The trial, being heard by a judge
alone, began on Monday and is
expected to run all week.
A veterinarian testified that it was
the worst case of animal cruelty in his
Many of the cattle were so badly
emaciated they could not get to their
feet and had to be euthanised on the
Many of the animals weighed
between 150kg and 210kg, whereas
healthy cows should weigh between
380kg and 480kg.
Usher farmed at Rotomanu next
door to Ham when his son took over
the lease of Ham’s property. As well
as running the Rotomanu farm the
family also farmed at Rangiora, in
He said he was involved in the lease
discussions with Ham and his son,
Jeremy. Robert and Sue Usher acted
as guarantors for the lease.
Usher said Ham was still involved
with the farm when his son took over
“He lived on the property and
was helping out prior to when MPI
arrived on the farm in August 2012.
“Once we finished milking in May
2012, Mr Ham would frequent
around quite a bit, helping around the
“I told Mr Ham of our financial
difficulties in November 2011 and
that we were going to be put into
receivership. O ur financial problems
started about 18 months before that.”
He said Ham appeared to be happy
with how Jeremy Usher was running
the farm. When Jeremy went on
holiday, his father took over.
Usher referred to water supply
issues, which he said were caused
when Ham turned off the power to
the water pump.
“The power supply was in Tony ’s
(Ham’s) private garage and we didn’t
have control of it.”
As well as the 600 cattle Jeremy
Usher had leased, the only other cows
on the property were 106 mixed aged
cows and some bulls that were moved
to Rotomanu when the receivers
moved on to Usher’s Rangiora
Cross-examined, Usher said the
star vation incident and being put into
receivership had been traumatic and
taken its toll on him, so much so that
he had felt suicidal for a time. It took
him 18 months to recover emotionally.
He was not thinking clearly about
what went on at the farm initially, but
after 18 months things became “a lot
He recalled a winter storm that hit
Rotomanu in June 2012.
“It was a hell of a storm with
blizzard-like conditions that had a
devastating effect on the animals. The
animals shed their condition quickly
and it knocked them,” Usher said.
He agreed that Ham helped on the
farm financially where he could with
purchases of fence posts, fencing wire
and calf stock feed, and also helped
him on the farm from about August
2012 onwards, bringing the cows in
Another Rotomanu farmer, West
Coast Federated Farmers president
Katie Milne, realised something was
amiss when she flew over the Ham
property in her plane in July 2012.
She obser ved dead cows lying about,
and a hole with dead animals in it.
She attempted to contact the Ushers
by phone but was only able to leave a
message in which she asked if there
were any issues on the farm and if any
help was needed.
“Robert Usher did not get back to
me,” Miss Milne said.
A couple of weeks later she flew
back over the farm and noticed there
was less grass and more “dead bodies”.
Again she again tried to contact
the Ushers without success, and then
made contact with Ham.
“ He got back to me promptly and I
told him I was very concerned about
what I had seen.”
“The cows were bellowing, and that
only happens when they are thirsty or
hungry,” she said.
Miss Milne had at least two
conversations with Ham about the
situation and he told her things were
“dire” and he had even purchased feed
to help the Ushers look after the cattle.
When she realised things were
not improving she contacted
Westland Milk Products and Dairy
New Zealand to raise the alarm.
Farmer suicidal after hundreds of cows starved
The Lake Brunner Ser vice Station, at
Moana, has fallen victim to a smash and
grab raid for the second time in three
A burglar jemmied their way into
the premises at 1.18am yesterday in
an 80-second raid in which $4000 of
tobacco in 30g and 50g pouches was
Closed circuit television footage shows
the burglar arriving for the raid in a dark
sedan, with another occupant waiting in
the getaway car.
Garage proprietor David Larkin said
the burglars managed to “scoot ” around
the alarm and obviously knew what they
“Somehow they managed not to set
our alarm off — I don’t know how,” Mr
The method of burglary was exactly
the same as a previous raid three months
ago, only this time the break-in did not
activate the alarm.
Mr Larkin said it appeared from video
footage that the burglar in the latest
incident was a “very similar looking
Mr Larkin said he was leaving nothing
to chance and was today taking steps
to beef up security, including the
installation of bars and internal metal
Because the ser vice station was
relatively isolated from surrounding
residential neighbours, on the edge
of Moana township, and with the
increasing likelihood of similar raids as
the price of tobacco continued to rise,
there was little choice, he said.
“This guy was armed with a great big
jemmy bar ... we’ve basically come to the
decision we’ve got to stop them from
getting inside the shop.”
He said the theft was “ life” and the
price his business paid in ser ving Moana.
“ I know there’s been other businesses
around New Zealand who have made
decisions to get out of them (cigarettes).
But from a commercial point of view in
a small town like this, when you are the
only shop it’s more of a ser vice.”
Greymouth police hope the owner
of a white four-wheel-drive vehicle,
possibly a Mitsubishi Pajero or a Toyota
Landcruiser, seen towing a trailer past
the ser vice centre at the time of the
burglary will come for ward. Senior
constable Mike Tinnelly said the vehicle
was heading north about the same time.
PICTURE: NZ Police
A roof collapse on Sunday has
apparently closed the underground
Terrace Mine, at Reefton.
Crusader Coal Ltd director Bernie
Lambley confirmed today that a
“small roof fall” occurred in the mine
on Sunday, without injury.
“ Nobody was in the mine at the
time,” Mr Lambley said.
The Greymouth Star understands
the former Solid Energy mine
employs about 10 people. It was sold
to private interests about two years
Mr Lambley declined to speculate
on the implications of the fall, an
investigation, the future of the
underground mine, or say whether
it was continuing to operate despite
“I ’m in the middle of sorting that
out,” he said.
The mine was mothballed by Solid
Energy in 2009 after it was unable to
conquer ‘heating’ problems.
Australian-owned Crusader Coal
purchased the mine in December
2011 and reopened it later in 2012.
At the time of its purchase
Crusader said it hoped to produce
between 30,000 to 40,000 tonnes a
year initially, building up to between
60,000 and 70,000 tonnes a year at
Roof fall closes Reefton underground coalmine
The last remaining monument at
the historic Maori Gully cemetery
has been desecrated.
The 1872 grave of James
McGaffin is the last remaining sign
of a former goldrush town, and the
only marked grave in the cemetery.
It was restored by the Grey District
Council about eight years ago.
Contractors discovered the
damage when they went to mow
the lawn this week, finding that the
headstone had been knocked over,
smashing into several pieces.
Grey District Mayor Tony
Kokshoorn said the damage was
“ You know what is sad about
that? That is the only remaining
gravestone at Maori Gully, it is the
only remaining thing of a vibrant
goldmining town, everything else is
bush,” Mr Kokshoorn said.
The council previously had the
headstone reconditioned and the
wrought iron fence fixed.
The cemetery is located 5km
along Maori Gully Road, off
Arnold Valley Road, near Kokiri,
and up a bush track.
Given its isolation, the Mayor
said the damage must have been
“ We will find the budget for it.
We are definitely going to fix it up.
Maori Gully played a big role in the
goldrushes of the 1860s,” he said.
mason Jamie Rhodes restored the
gravestone and was disappointed to
see it destroyed.
“It certainly looks like vandalism,
but without a close inspection it is
hard to tell,” Mr Rhodes said.
“These older monuments were
installed with a tenon and mortise
joint, which were prone to breaking
through the tenon joint. Looking at
the photos, this doesn’t look to be
Historic graveyard desecrated
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