Home' Greymouth Star : March 7th 2015 Contents www.greystar.co.nz
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SATURDAY, MARCH 7, 2015
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Greymouth looks back at 2005 tornado
The Gloriavale Christian
Community has applied to build
an entirely new school and early
childhood centre at its Lake
Haupiri complex. The school will
be a two-storey building with 11
classrooms on the ground floor.
Including a kitchen and workshop it
will have a floor area of 3232 square
Otira speed limit
mooted for kea
Deaths Corner in the Otira
Gorge is proving so deadly to kea
that the Kea Conser vation Trust
is considering calling for lowering
the speed limit. The trust says kea
deaths are reported every month, but
believes even more may be injured,
fly off and die away from the road.
The trust had been considering
putting up kea signs, but kiwi signs
installed nearby by the Arthur’s Pass
Wildlife Trust keep getting stolen. “A
whole bunch were found at Lincoln
University,” Kea Conservation Trust
chairwoman Tamsin Orr-Walker
said. “It ’s a bit of a lark, but it costs
charitable trusts a lot to replace.”
With question marks over using
signs, the trust is weighing up other
options, including lowering the
speed limit in the Arthur’s Pass area.
Problems arise wherever motorists
pull over, and kea congregate. Kea
were not as numerous as people
often thought, she said. Last year, the
trust surveyed 40,000ha and found
33 female kea which were nesting.
Only four nests hatched successfully.
“And that was a bumper number, the
highest number since 2009. People
think there’s loads of them, but they
are attracted to human areas.”
Should the day ever come when
the dead do rise from their graves
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Fox News reports that Taurus
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is selling the kit with the promise
that ‘Having the right gear at your
fingertips can ensure a positive
outcome to a life-threatening crisis.’
— Daily Mail
West Coast moteliers are
on alert this summer as some
overseas guests try sneaking extra
people into motel rooms without
paying — including hiding in
Bella Vista Fox Glacier owner
Bill Langley said it was a problem
in the southern resort.
“It gets worse every year,” Mr
Asian tourists were among the
most common culprits, he said.
“They think because they paid
for one night the room is theirs
and they can do with it what they
A common example would be
a couple who booked a room for
two, and then arrived with two
“They book a room for two and
presume they can have as many
as they want.”
Mr Langley noted that the
same tourists would happily pay
for helicopter rides and expensive
activities, while cheating on
“Motels are fair game when it
comes to cheating.”
Although a problem, he also
acknowledged the value that the
Asian market brought to West
Coast tourism: “If they weren’t
here, business wouldn’t be as
robust,” Mr Langley said.
His contemporary at the
Bella Vista Motel Greymouth,
Bryan Williamson, said people
sneaking in was nothing unusual.
“ You get it every year. There
has been a lot this year, not
just on the Coast, though,” Mr
Motel Association members
received e-mails alerting them
to instances that had occurred
around the country
One recent alert followed an
incident at Franz Josef Glacier,
where two people were found
hiding in a wardrobe.
“They book for three but have
six — that ’s six showers, so people
on the same cylinder might not
get one. It’s little things like that,
and wear and tear.”
He recalled one incident at
his motel four years ago when a
room had been booked for two
but five people tried to sneak in.
“They turned up every five
Glenfern Villas Franz Josef
Glacier manager Craig Rankin
said in some other countries
when guests booked a room they
could have any amount of people
Most of the time it was a
misunderstanding — but not all
were so naive.
“Some are definitely out to
try to save money, it has been
happening for years. People try
to save a bit of money and cause
themselves a lot of grief,” Mr
The issue was also a safety one
for the moteliers.
“If anything goes wrong you
need to know how many people
you’ve got. You police it, not only
from a money point of view but a
safety point of view.”
Moteliers were aware of the
practice and looked out for it.
“Everyone is aware of it,
everyone is on a watch for it.”
Sunset Motels owner Bruce
Evans, of Fox Glacier, agreed
that it was most often parents not
wanting to pay extra for children.
Asian parents were happy for
their nine-year-old children to
sleep in the same bed.
“We ask ‘did you buy them a
plane ticket? Then you have to
pay for another bed.’”
Bella Vista Franz Josef Glacier
owner Adam Haugh said he saw
it a few times a month.
Often it was people who had
booked accommodation and
would “see how far they could
They had to be careful how
they handled it as customers
could review motels on-line,
which “can seriously affect the
economics of your business”.
Some people would try to
distract staff while they sneaked
extras inside the unit.
“Sometimes it can be quite
funny,” Mr Haugh said.
“The wife came across and asked
me to come over to reception to
do a payment, and the husband
drove out and parked on the side
of the road.
“It was quite obvious what they
Ten years after a major tornado sliced
through the middle of Greymouth
causing more than $9 million in damage,
meteorologists say it is “very likely” one
of a similar size will strike again.
However, they say next time it may not
hit such a densely populated area.
The March 10, 2005 tornado is etched
in many people’s memories. Some
buildings in town still bear the scars.
Meteorologist John Law said tornadoes
were measured on the Enhanched Fujita
“ Looking at the damage caused in
Greymouth I would estimate the scale
to be an EF2,” Mr Law said.
An EF2 tornado causes considerable
or significant damage — generally roofs
peel off houses, camper vans are toppled
and large trucks are pushed over.
Mr Law said tornadoes on the
West Coast of New Zealand were not
“The topography of the area and
the arrival of (weather) features from
the west can often provide the ideal
conditions for tornadoes to form.
“Although most tornadoes in New
Zealand are smaller in size and intensity
it is very likely that we will see similar
sized events in the future. However, they
may not run through densely populated
areas, reducing the amount of damage
He said several other significant
tornadoes had been reported on the
West Coast in the past 80 years:
March 1936 - A total of 50 buildings
hit; Greymouth Surf Club completely
demolished. Arney Street was heavily
December 1938 - Millerton, Buller,
1976 — Daytime tornado destroys
the Arahura church.
March 2001 - A sudden tornado
swept through Cobden about 4am on
March 28. Five or six homes lost their
roofs and more than 20 others were
damaged to a lesser extent. The tornado
left a clump of 1m-long seaweed on the
roof of one house 2km from the beach.
June 2003 - About 20 businesses
reported structural damage. Most major
damage was centred on the Gresson
and Arney streets area. MG Marketing
was one of the worst hit businesses but
also hit were Neptune Backpackers,
Bannockbrae Signs, Fulton Hogan,
Griffen and Smith Mitre 10 and
Super Liquor. This tornado did at least
$300,000 worth of damage.
August 2014 - three Blaketown
Remember the big 2005 tornado?
Feature and photos, p6,7.
Big Greymouth tornado won’t be last
Eureka! at Shantytown
PICTURE: Ben Aulakh
Greymouth High School students Rubie Williams, left, Phoebe Roberts, Brydie Dumelow and Chloe Smith braved the wind and the rain on Thursday to stake
their claim for gold at Shantytown. The heritage park’s educator Monica Edwards said the Year 9 students had set up their claim, had their gold ‘licences’ checked
and then panned for the precious mineral as part of a day’s activities learning about life as a goldminer.
Greymouth High School says its
tertiary education provider Karoro
Learning could operate better as a private
enterprise without the “restrictions” of a
The board of trustees announced last
week it intended selling the institution
it started 21 years ago, subject to
consultation with Karoro’s 19 staff.
School principal Andy England
said yesterday the board had further
investigated the options for the future
of the adult learning adjunct, and was
now “confident that Karoro Learning
can be a successful private training
establishment on its own”.
“ It doesn’t need to be owned by us.
This gives the opportunity for Karoro
Learning to expand aspects of its
operations going into the future,” Mr
The board was confident it could fulfil
its community role as a private training
establishment “even better without the
restrictions of operating under a school”.
Karoro Learning director Russell
Nimmo said he was pleased that the
board had decided not to close them
down, but acknowledged the “difficult ”
circumstances facing staff.
“The staff of Karoro Learning will
work constructively with Greymouth
High School to support the change
of ownership process in the hope that
many of the opportunities currently
offered by Karoro Learning may be able
to be continued into the future,” Mr
“ We have been a part of Greymouth
High School for 21 years. We’re proud
of what we’ve achieved in that time
with education in our community. This
is a difficult time for our staff. We are
passionate about our work and are very
keen to continue with our clients”
Mr England said the board had met
with Karoro staff and confirmed that it
would continue to work towards the sale
as a going concern.
They were yet to seek expressions of
interest from potential buyers.
Karoro Learning has operated as a
subsidiary of Greymouth High School
since 1994, and provides a range of
tertiary courses on the West Coast, and
to students around the country through
It has 120 students enrolled on
courses at the Greymouth campus
each year and a further 350 adults in
community education night classes, plus
300 distance learning students.
Karoro Learning change ‘difficult’
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