Home' Greymouth Star : April 17th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Friday, April 17, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
1421 - The sea breaks through the dikes at
Dort, in the Netherlands, drowning more than
1492 - Christopher Columbus receives a
commission from Spain’s King Ferdinand
and Queen Isabella to seek a westward ocean
passage to Asia.
1521 - Papal nuncio Cardinal Alexander
cross-examines Martin Luther over his beliefs
and views on the Catholic Church at the Diet
of Worms, where he is excommunicated.
1790 - Death of American scientist
and statesman Benjamin Franklin,
aged 84. Franklin carried out major
research into electricity but is famed
for helping to frame the American
Declaration of Independence.
1946 - Last French troops leave
Syria, which becomes independent.
1961 - Attempt to invade Cuba by 1500
CIA-trained Cuban exiles fails at the Bay of
Pigs. 1964 - Ford Motor Company unveils its
new Mustang model.
1970 - Astronauts of Apollo 13 splash down
safely in the Pacific, four days after a ruptured
oxygen tank crippled their spacecraft.
1984 - Death of US Army General Mark
Clark, who led the Allied forces during the
successful Italian campaign against the Axis
powers in World War Two.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Henry Vaughan, English poet (1622-1695);
J Pierpont Morgan, US financier
(1837-1913); Nikita Khrushchev,
Soviet statesman (1894-1971);
Thornton Wilder, US novelist and
playwright (1897-1975); William
Holden, US actor (1918-1981);
Olivia Hussey, British actress
(1951-); Greg Evans, Australian
television personality (1953-); Nick
Hornby, English author (1957-); Maynard
James Keenan, US musician (1964-); Liz
Phair, US singer (1967-); Barnaby Joyce,
Australian politician, (1967-); Jennifer Garner,
US actress (1972-); Muttiah Muralitharan, Sri
Lankan cricketer (1972-); Victoria Beckham,
UK singer and designer (1974-); Jo-Wilfried
Tsonga, French tennis player (1985-)
“There are worse things in life than death.
Have you ever spent an evening with an
insurance salesman?” — Woody Allen, US
director, actor (1935-)
“ But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is
from there that we are expecting a Saviour, the
Lord Jesus Christ.” — P hilippians 3:20
of interests and of
events provided the
right man in the
right spot to save a house in Greymouth from
total destruction by fire late this morning. It
was lucky for both the Greymouth Trotting
Club and its caretaker, Mr Ron Rooney, that
deputy chief fire officer Mr George Nelson
was training his bay trotter Free Return on the
Victoria Park Raceway today.
If Nero fiddled while Rome burned, then Mr
Rooney can be said to have continued burning
while his home was ablaze. Greymouth
publican Mr Nelson spotted the smoke from
the caretaker’s house as he was rounding the
home bend. He dropped his reins and took on
his other mantle as fire officer.
At the front of the house on the corner of
William and Leonard streets, he found Mr
Rooney continuing his paint burning operations
— blissfully unaware that the roof of his house
was alight. Mr Nelson dashed to the telephone
and sent out a general alarm. Brigadesmen were
quickly on the scene, ripped off corrugated iron
from the roof and got to the seat of the blaze
within. The fire had begun behind the front wall
where Mr Rooney was burning off.
Seventy boys battled with a round football at
the Recreation Ground last Saturday at what
was virtually the birth of an under-14 soccer
competition on the West Coast. The West
Coast Football Association has previously tried
a pre-season tournament for the youngsters
but was lucky if it got as many as 10 aspiring
Saturday’s competition put soccer officials in
great heart for the future of the game here.
uFood for thought
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Hiroshima survivors haunted 70 years on
remembers how his
leg sank into one of
the bodies blocking a
narrow Hiroshima street
70 years ago, as he fled
the spreading fire ignited by the atomic
“My leg slid deep into one of them.
Then it was very hard to pull my leg out
. . . To escape, I had no choice,” Harada,
the 75-year-old former head of an atomic
bomb museum, said.
Later that day, a woman grabbed Harada,
then just six years old, by the leg and
asked for water. He stepped back in horror
to find a chunk of flesh from her hand
sticking to his leg.
As the 70th anniversary of the world’s
first nuclear attack approaches, many
sur vivors still find it too painful to talk
about. But with their ranks dwindling,
others are determined to pass on their
experiences to younger generations.
“The number of sur vivors will be
shrinking and their voices getting smaller,”
Harada said. “But Hiroshima needs to
keep on sending a message to the world
that things like this should never happen
Hiroshima sur vivors often refrain from
talking about their experiences even
with their own children, some from a
feeling that the past is too horrific and
others from fear of discrimination against
themselves and their offspring.
This year’s anniversary comes as Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe seeks to ease the
constraints of Japan’s post-war, pacifist
constitution on the military.
Critics fear that could lead the nation
again down a mistaken path to war, while
proponents argue the change is needed to
deter growing regional threats.
A United States Army Air Force B29
bomber dropped the atomic bomb on
Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, killing
about 140,000 by the end of the year, out
of the 350,000 who lived in the city. The
city still has some 60,000 sur vivors but
their average age is approaching 80.
The US dropped a second atomic bomb
on Nagasaki three days after Hiroshima.
Japan surrendered on August 15.
Shortly after the bombing, 15-year-
old Shigeo Ito was hurrying home and
was asked by a woman to help rescue
a person trapped under a collapsed
house. He ignored the plea since fire was
approaching the bridge he needed to cross
to get home.
“Even long after that, I could not help
feeling ashamed of myself every time I
saw that bridge,” the 84-year-old Ito, who
now lectures to schoolchildren about his
Shuntaro Hida, 98, was an army surgeon
at the time of the bombing. When he
first went out after the explosion, he
saw a woman with what he thought
were tattered clothes hanging from her
torso. Then he realised he was seeing her
For Hida, however, the real horror of
the nuclear attack lay in its often invisible
health effects. “ The cruellest aspect of a
nuclear attack is not the savage destruction
of human bodies or visible burns, but its
life-destroying after-effects,” Hida, who
treated and advised some 10,000 atomic
bomb sur vivors, said.
Hiroshima began to see an increased
number of leukaemia patients five years
after the bombing.
Fumiaki Kajiya, 76, lost his sister to
the atomic bomb blast. Their parents had
moved her to a rural area to keep her safe,
but just before the bombing, they brought
her back to the city, succumbing to her
pleas to stay with the family.
Kajiya’s mother would weep for hours
on end in front of the Buddhist altar as
August 6 came around every year.
Kajiya now performs “picture shows” for
children with hand-drawn art to pass on
the horror of the atomic bomb.
“ If we forget Hiroshima, the world
would be a dangerous place,” Kajiya said.
Hiroshi Harada, a 75-year-old atomic bomb sur vivor and former head of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, in front of a cenotaph for the victims of the 1945 atomic
bomb, in the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, western Japan.
Cancelled surger y
Thank you for the article highlighting
the problems being encountered getting
operations done at Grey Base Hospital
(Greymouth Star, April 15).
Since that was published I have been
contacted by others who are in the same
position as myself — needing urgent
surgery for extremely painful conditions.
One lady also waiting on hip surgery was
actually at the hospital on Monday when
her surgery was cancelled, but the reason
given to her was different to what I was
told — I got that the anaesthetist ’s plane
had not arrived; she was told an acute case
was being operated on and they needed
to re-prioritise everyone else. The DHB
spokesman in your article used the same
excuse — a bit of a contradiction here —
they were operating, but no anaesthetist
I was told that my condition was so bad
it needed urgent surgery, so I was pleased
when the surgeon arranged it so quickly.
After three cancellations — and assuming
I get done in May — that will be three
months, hardly urgent.
One of the worst aspects of an upcoming
operation is having to go off one of your
main painkillers for seven days beforehand
— I have gone through this agony three
times for nothing now.
I was sure that there were others being
treated badly by this system, and I was
right. This DHB receives more money per
head of population than any other DHB
in the country — start spending it on us.
On behalf of the RSA and the Women’s
Section, I would like to thank all the ladies
who knitted and crocheted poppies for
the Anzac centennial. It was a wonderful
Special thanks to Hone for the
woodwork, it is just superb, and to Jillian
at Pins and Needles — she has done a
very special display. There were about 350
to 370 poppies contributed. I must not
forget my friend who helped with getting
the sewing-on finished in time.
After Poppy Day today, it will be moved
to the RSA for Anzac Day. Do call in to
the RSA and have a look. You will be most
RSA Women’s Section
Cobden fire 100th
To the Cobden Volunteer Fire Brigade,
who devote their time and help to keeping
our suburb of Cobden safe over so many
years in all kinds of weather and all times
of day and night — wear your uniform
They are always there helping to save the
homes and avert more damage, such as in
the awful cyclones where many roofs were
lost, helping to ease the distress of all these
I remember the big fires of the old
Greymouth Opera House picture theatre
and the Greymouth Town Hall when I
was a child.Ihave aphotoof mydad up
the ladder fighting this fire. These were
very big fires. The Williams family home
destroyed, and the way folks rallied around
with clothes, donations etc to help out this
In the early days when the men were
at work, should there be a fire, my mum’s
job was to climb up the start of the fire
tower, grab the two ropes and ring the
bell to alert the firemen of a fire. This was
before sirens were on the scene. We took
the calls coming in any time, day or night
on the old telephone at home to alert of
I hope all the firefighters past and
present, their family members who are
helping in the background, had a great
centennial of the Cobden Fire Brigade.
To the brigade, may it always continue —
with chaps like you who give of yourselves
and time, we thank you.
A budget hospital . . .
I understand that there are two
companies under consideration for the
construction of our district hospital. The
two companies — ‘S kyway Garages’ and
‘ Verzattail Garages’ have both submitted
suitable prices. A recent meeting ended
when the Government could not confirm
the extra payment for roller doors as
opposed to tiltadoors. Discussions
Missing The Sound
In regards to the letter ‘radio change
annoys’ (Greymouth Star, April 7), I
agree totally. I am also disappointed and
disgruntled with the change in radio
station. The Edge is not my cup of tea
either. Why change The Sound? It was
good, it played old music from the 1970s
and 1980s era of my time zone, but now
I do not listen to any radio station, I play
my own music collection — Pink Floyd,
Neil Young, Little River Band.
I agree with Paul Buchanan. I am glad he
wrote to the paper. He beat me to it as I
was going to.
It says it all — another icon gone from
the West Coast. Bring back The Sound.
The Health and Disability
Commissioner has released another report
of a serious incident from another part of
the country, three years after the event.
A mix-up of tissue sample had led to
needless surgery for one patient and
delayed cancer treatment of another.
The comments imply that the focus
of the investigation was on system
reviews as opposed to ‘punishment ’. The
commissioner has recommended another
apology letter be written to the patients.
However, the report does not identify
causes of the errors or the potential
As the article explains, events like these
has significant adverse effects not only on
the patient but also on the conscientious
members of staff. Th e article suggests the
doctor involved was not only upset at the
consequences to the patient but also at
his involvement in a health system which
allowed this to happen.
When someone has done their best
to train for a task or profession and
subjected to ‘human error’, blaming
or punishing an individual can make
matters worse than better for the system.
However, several of the West Coast cases
which have been subject to unreasonably
delayed, coronial or Health and Disability
Commissioner investigations, questions
the appropriateness of blameless approach
in all cases.
In some cases, original witness reports
were modified to exclude key facts and
opinions concealing the errors and causes.
In other cases, I believe witnesses had
been intimidated to leave the area. In
many instances harm resulted from failure
to provide basic clinical care and clinicians
were performing duties well outside their
training for incentive payments. Positions
of authority had been abused in provision
of ser vices as well as conduction of
‘Blameless’ seems to equate to ‘useless’ in
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