Home' Greymouth Star : May 16th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
2 - Saturday, May 16, 2015
The Greymouth High School ball organising committee — Ethan Wilson-Bruce, Rhian Calder, Sarah Crawford, Preen Singh, Nicole Reriti, Amber Pat-
tinson, Adam Griffin and Nina Van Rijnsoever have their hands full of decorations, ready to deck the hall at Shantytown for the annual school ball tonight. The
theme this year is ‘fire and ice’.
PICTURE: Ben Aulakh
Fire and ice at school ball
Reluctant hero saves teen from car
A Dunedin builder smashed the rear
window of a sinking car in Otago harbour
to drag its teenage driver to safety.
But reluctant hero Dan Weir, 28, says
his exploits are “not rocket science” and he
simply did what “anyone should do”.
Mr Weir — described by police as an
understated “typical Kiwi bloke” — was
on his way to pour concrete for an Otago
Peninsula client about 1.30pm yesterday
when he noticed a car in the water off
Others were at the scene but Mr Weir
sprang to action and to the teenage driver’s
“I just grabbed a rock and threw it though
the back window,” he said.
“It ’s not rocket science — rock versus
window, the rock wins.”
Constable Jo Ammundsen said the
16-year-old female driver could have died
without the inter vention of Mr Weir.
“It could have been a fatality if he had not
jumped in,” she said.
“He (there) was no hesitation; straight into
Mr Weir, a Coastguard volunteer, said the
“distressed” driver of the car was banging on
the rear window when he arrived at the scene.
The car was already partially submerged and
sinking as he began the rescue.
“As I was dragging her out it was gone,”
“I just grabbed her hands and pulled her
Mr Weir, a Portobello resident, said he
often witnessed cars in the harbour but it
was the first time he had seen the driver still
“It ’s not unusual on that road to see cars
in the water but you don’t see someone
banging on the back window trying to get
out very often,” he said.
When asked if he felt his actions were
heroic, he said: “I did what had to be done.
It ’s what anyone should do”.
The driver’s partner had touched base to
thank him for his actions — “I just let him
know I hope she’s okay ”, he said.
Mr Weir still had time to make it to
his client ’s house and finish pouring the
concrete. Despite the wet weather the job
was still “all good”.
Ms Ammundsen said Mr Weir’s actions
would be recommended for a police
The driver said she had tried to open the
car’s door but found the water pressure too
great, Ms Ammundsen said. The girl was
travelling to D unedin from Macandrew Bay
when she lost control on a left-hand bend
and plunged into the harbour, she said.
The girl was “very shaken up” but other wise
unhurt. She was taken to D unedin Hospital
as a precaution. Speed was not believed to
have been a factor in the crash. No charges
would be laid and it seemed the crash was
the result of “terrible” road conditions at the
Otago Daily Times
Clean-up continues after
The University of Otago will have
to examine its reputation as a “party
school” if it wants student drinking
culture to change, the national
student association union says.
“Sometimes students come to
Dunedin for that ‘student experience’,
and sometimes the university and
(the association) promote that
culture,” New Zealand Union of
Students’ Associations president
Rory McCourt said yesterday.
Otago University Students’
Association president Paul Hunt
said OUSA was working hard to
make student party culture safer by
changing norms around partying and
“It’s about work on the ground,
talking to students in the streets
that have a reputation (for partying),
about socialising the idea of safety,”
But cancelling landmark Dunedin
student party events — such as the
annual Hyde Street party — should
be off the table, he said.
“Saying it should be cancelled is
very reactionary. We should drive
policy by the outcomes of how much
harm has occurred, not what the
University vice-chancellor Professor
Harlene Hayne said she did not
dispute that the D unedin student
party culture had its issues.
In a speech to the University of
Otago council this week, Prof Hayne
said the university had “taken a
number of time-consuming and
expensive measures” to deal with the
student drinking problem.
She remained firm on what she saw
as the main problem: alcohol being
too inexpensive, and easy to acquire.
“The University of Otago recognises
the best way to deal with dangerous
drinking is to increase price, decrease
accessibility, increase the drinking
age, decrease marketing, and increase
drunk-driving measures including
lowering the legal blood alcohol
count further,” she said.
Mr McCourt dismissed the
suggestion the problem should be
solved by “more taxes on booze” or
imposing a liquor ban.
Those ideas had been discussed but
never implemented by the D unedin
City Council and was re-visited by
the Sunday programme on TVNZ
“(The University of Otago) is a
destination university,” he said.
“In some respects, that is what Otago
University propagates as the student
experience ... Some responsibility has
to be taken (for that).”
average percentage of 18 to
19-year-old students — almost 5%
higher than the national average in
2014 — was part of the problem,
“ You have younger people coming
straight from high school ... and away
from their parents, trying to find
themselves, which plays into a lot of
(the party culture).”
A university statement said it
“makes no apology for the fact it is a
University marketing focused on
its extracurricular activities and
academic rigour, not partying, it said.
“So a destination, and a very fine
one, it is.”
Mr McCourt said in order for
there to be any meaningful change
in D unedin student parties, the
university would have to take
responsibility for the reputation it
had, and make an effort to change it.
“It creates a culture where people
want to break loose,” he said.
“It markets itself on that student
Otago Daily Times
Student body questions marketing of Otago ‘culture’
Fiona. — Born May 6,
2015, weighing 8lb
10ozs. A wonderful
daughter for Malcolm
and Fiona, and a sister
for Callum. Thanks to
the staff at McBrearty
Old Fashioned Values,
Old Fashioned Ethics
family would like to
express their apprecia-
tion for the kind support,
cards, flowers and phone
calls. The family would
like to pass on their
gratitude and apprecia-
tion to the Granger
House and Richard Sed-
don Hospital staff for
their care and attention
given to Ian whilst in
rest home care.
2013. In loving memory
of my partner Leslie
Somewhere out there
listening to the
Ph 768 0250
Value the life,
make it right
Don’t live with
Ensuring you get Expertise
and Qualified Funeral
Passed away five years
Time takes away the
edge of grief,
But memory turns back
Paul.— Taken from us
too soon, gone but never
forgotten. Privileged to
have known him.
Paddy and Liam
money loses appeal
A former multi-
millionaire who fell
from grace after being
found guilty of stealing
pokie money from his
bar yesterday lost appeals
against his conviction and
Michael McGurk was
found guilty last year of
stealing some $35,000
from central Auckland
hotel and bar, the Albion.
A jury at the Auckland
District Court found
McGurk guilty of theft
by a person in a special
relationship after the
Department of Internal
Affairs (DIA) brought the
A gambling compliance
director said McGurk
used the pokie money for
hotel trading expenses.
McGurk said last year
the conviction was “an
absolute joke” and he
promised an appeal.
Fourteen months on,
the Court of Appeal has
rejected his case.
The DIA said the
money McGurk took
was meant for the Pacific
Sports and Community
Trust, later known as the
McGurk was sentenced
to five months’ home
detention and 100 hours
of community work.
The Court of Appeal
ordered he hand himself
in to start his sentence
of home detention and
community ser vice.
McGurk was once worth
$60m, according to the
NBR Rich List.
Facebook medicating ‘stupid’
Turning to social media sites
like Facebook for prescription-
only medicine is the “height of
stupidity”, according to one GP
who said people could be risking
their lives by doing so.
Over the past few weeks there
have been several occasions where
people have turned to Rotorua-
based buy, swap and sell type sites
seeking medications like opioid
pain medication Tramadol and
In once case, a person sought the
antibiotic Augmentin while several
other cases had people asking for
Dr Harry Pert from the Ranolf
Medical Centre said the practice
was hugely concerning because it
was both illegal and dangerous.
“ It is a very dangerous practice.
“ I think it is stupid.”
Dr Pert said Tramadol was a strong
painkiller which was addictive, and
could cause sleepiness which made
driving and operating machinery
“ If people want medicine the best
thing is to go to a pharmacist or
“There are regulations for a reason
and that ’s to protect safety.”
He said people should not have
spare antibiotics lying around as
they should take the full course
“ It is fraught with danger.”
Pharmacist Ian Edward said he
was surprised to find people doing
such a thing.
“ I just wouldn’t have thought that
was something that happens.”
He said not only was it bad
practice, it was also illegal.
“As far as I’m aware it’s not legal.
Prescription-only medicine can be
obtained only by a prescription so
they shouldn’t be able to do it full
More than that, it was bad
practice, Mr Edward said.
He said with medicine like
antibiotics there was always the
potential for a reaction to happen.
Taking Tramadol when it was not
prescribed was “very bad practice
not to be recommended at all”.
Mr Edward said even when a
person was prescribed Tramadol
by a doctor, as pharmacists they
were very mindful of providing the
patient with a lot of information
about the possible side-effects.
A massive clean-up is set to continue
today along the path of the wild 170kph
twister that left a swathe of destruction
through Mount Maunganui.
It brought down trees, ripped apart
roofs, downed power lines and sent
trampolines through windows and
crashing through roofs.
The tornado hit land at Clyde Street
about 8.45pm on Thursday and tore a
swathe all the way to Te Maunga and
Links Avenue was one of the areas hit
and residents yesterday banded together
to help clean up the mess.
Resident Adelle Fleming said 3m
by 5m garden shed had landed on her
fence as it the tornado passed.
“It ’s been absolutely trashed. It’s a
mess,” she said.
“It ’s caved in my fence and I can’t get
out of my driveway.
“My neighbours across the road, one
of the street lights landed on their roof.
My next-door neighbour has lost some
of her roof and their windows were
Arbor Care managing director John
Meehan said the tail of the tornado was
less than 20m wide but it packed a huge
Teams of arborists were busy making
damaged trees safe as part of a huge
clean-up in which neighbours pitched
in to help those unlucky enough to live
along the path of the tornado.
Mr Meehan said the wind vane at
Mount Manganui Intermediate clocked
the tornado’s speed at 173kph. Some
trees were blown apart, with several on
the Omanu Golf Course looking like a
giant mulcher had gone straight over
the top of them.
Contractor Downers was up until
3.30am yesterday dealing with large
debris such as roofing iron, while
Higgins Contractors were busy until
2.30am cleaning debris off roads.
Emergency ser vices worked until
1.15am to check properties and make
sure people were safe. As a precautionary
measure, Club Mount Maunganui was
kept open as a welfare centre until 1am.
Mayor Stuart Crosby said the cost
of the tornado would be substantial.
One of the biggest bills would be for
the three enormous metal sheets that
were ripped off Bay Park stadium and
hurled on to the road and neighbouring
Mr Crosby credited
contractors and staff for responding
quickly to the emergency and working
through the night.
He was also impressed with the pace
of the clean-up at Links Avenue and
Lodge Avenue and how the community
“I went and spoke to some of the
residents and everyone was chipping
in and lending a hand. The community
support going on was great with
neighbours, relatives and friends helping
Mr Crosby said power cuts created
problems for the Te Maunga sewage
treatment station but it was back on line
before the impact could be felt on the
Engineers would be back at Baypark
Stadium next week doing further
structural assessments, Mr Crosby said.
Bay Venues chief executive Gary
Dawson said the stadium had lost 10-
15% of its grandstand roof but the cost
of the damage was not known.
Mr Dawson said he was waiting on
a preliminary report on the damage,
which would include an initial insurance
assessment and a structural engineer’s
“I would love to tell you how much
it ’s going to cost to do the repairs but
we just don’t know at this stage until we
have a full structural engineer’s report.”
Mr Dawson said despite the damage
no planned events would be disrupted,
including Otumoetai College’s school
ball this weekend,
At least five business premises on
one side of Owens Place, including
and Animates, also
Liquorland Bayfair manager John
Campbell said he closed the store for
most of yesterday because of extensive
flooding after part of the roofing was
ripped off and a piece of flying debris
pierced what was left.
Next door, Bayfair TAB duty manager
Liam St Clair said the building did not
suffer any damage but a piece of roofing
iron went through his car windscreen.
“It was pretty fierce with lots of
crunching noises and tree debris flying
around. The noise was incredibly loud, it
sounded like a jet plane going through
here,” he said.
Further down the road at Animates
Bayfair, manager Craig Olsen said the
business lost lights, a big downpipe
and half the flashings at the top of the
premises, while the suspended ceiling
had been pulled up in a couple of places.
Mr Olsen said there were also a couple
of big holes in the wall on the outside of
the building which showed how forceful
the impact of flying debris had been.
“It ’s a little hard to say how much the
building repairs will cost. It could be as
much as $10,000 but our landlord has
insurance,” he said. “It was a crazy night.
We are so lucky the damage wasn’t far
NZME-Bay of Plenty Times
Extra police help curb
Plainclothes patrols and police
dogs are helping curb an increase
in Masterton burglaries.
After a rise in day-time
burglaries, police deployed extra
patrols around town to locate the
Detective senior sergeant Barry
Bysouth said burglaries had
been “appearing to climb, not
dramatically, but appearing to
climb” in the Masterton area.
“Police have increased plain-
town in an attempt to identify
these people who are breaking into
people’s homes while they are at
As a result, police arrested three
youths on Wednesday following
a burglary in South Road,
Masterton, Mr Bysouth said.
The young men allegedly were
earlier spotted carrying a laptop
wrapped in a hoodie.
After being alerted to the
burglary in South Road, police said
they returned to search the men’s
house and discovered property
taken in at least two other day-
Two of the youths have been
referred to youth justice.
Another youth was arrested on
Wednesday night after allegedly
trying to steal a child’s motorcycle
from Langlands Motorcycles in
Mr Bysouth said police were
alerted to the break-in after reports
of glass breaking.
Two teenagers were spotted on
the building’s roof.
They had tried to remove the
motorcycle from the yard, police
Police cordoned off the area as
both “bolted ” but one accused was
tracked and caught by Wairarapa’s
other police dog, Link.
The dogs were a vital tool, Mr
Bysouth said: “ They are absolutely
crucial, to have a police dog with
us which was able to track an
offender as quickly as they did
it’s another weapon in our
The young man was arrested and
referred to youth justice.
The other offender has yet to be
Link also proved its worth a
second time that night, when
its handler stopped a vehicle on
The driver fled on foot but was
tracked by Link which found the
man near Renall Street.
man was arrested and charged
with failing to stop, dangerous
driving, refusing to give blood and
exceeding the speed limit.
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