Home' Greymouth Star : May 21st 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Thursday, May 21, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
1840 - Captain William Hobson claims
British sovereignty over all New Zealand, even
though negotiations are incomplete and it does
not become a British colony until 1841.
1916 - Daylight saving is introduced in
England with clocks going for ward one hour
for the first time.
1924 - Bobby Franks, 14, is
murdered in a ‘thrill killing’
committed by Nathan Leopold Jr
and Richard Loeb, two Chicago
students, in a case that drew
1927 - US aviator Charles
Lindbergh reaches Paris, completing first solo
aeroplane flight across Atlantic Ocean.
1969 - Sirhan B Sirhan is sentenced to death
for the murder of US presidential candidate
Robert Kennedy in 1968. The sentence was
later changed to life imprisonment.
1982 - British troops attack Argentine-held
Falkland Islands establishing a beachhead at
Port San Carlos.
1991 - Rajiv Gandhi, candidate for prime
minister of India, is assassinated in a bomb
attack in state of Madras.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Albrecht Duerer, German artist (1471-1528);
Alexander Pope, English poet (1686-
1744); Henri Rousseau, French
painter (1844-1910); Fats Waller, US
jazz musician (1904-1943); Harold
Robbins, US novelist (1916-1997);
Raymond Burr, Canadian-born actor
(1917-1994); Andrey Sakharov,
Russian physicist, dissident and
Nobel Peace Prize laureate (1921-
1989); Malcolm Fraser, former Australian prime
minister (1930-2015); David Groh, US actor
(1939-2008); Ron Isley, US singer (1941-); Leo
Sayer, British singer (1948-) .
“A ship in the harbour is safe. But that ’s not
what ships are built for.” — Anonymous.
“ For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but
of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
— (2 Timothy 1:7).
were killed on Tuesday
by a mystery explosion
which ripped through
a 70-year-old colliery at Tonypandy, Cambria,
South Wales. Thirteen men were injured and
five of these were in hospital tonight. Rescuers
crawled through dust-blackened tunnels 850
feet below the surface to reach the scene of the
Tonypandy has charactertistics which
resemble Greymouth and the Grey Valley.
Welshman Mr Emrys Davies, who arrived in
New Zealand 11 years ago, said in Greymouth
this morning that his hometown in Wales was
only about 25 to 30 miles from Tonypandy.
“About the distance between Hokitika and
Greymouth.” He said the population of
Tonypandy would be similar to Greymouth
and that the small mines scattered outside were
in locations that resembled the Grey Valley.
Unlike West Coast mines, however, those
around Tonypandy were mainly shaft mines,
something like the old one at Wallsend, said
The school at the Arahura Pa, built about 10
years ago, has possibly sheltered its last pupils.
Its doors will not open on Monday to receive
its young Maori occupants for another term.
A declining roll has forced its closure, and a
similar fate may soon await the Kaihinu school
a few miles south.
As from Monday, Arahura’s 14 pupils will
attend the Hokitika Primary School. They will
be transported by bus to Hokitika each day.
Mrs W Tainui, speaking on behalf of the
Arahura Tribal Committee, said the closing of
the school was a sad occasion for the district.
uFood for thought
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Rebecca Kitteridge is like no director
of the Security Intelligence Ser vice (SIS)
New Zealand has seen. There was a time
when the identities of such national
security bureaucrats were, if not secret,
then, at the very least, invisible to the
general public. In recent decades, an SIS
director’s name might have been slid into
the public record, but he (and before Ms
Kitteridge they were all ‘he’) was seldom
heard and almost never seen.
How things have changed. Like
her British equivalent, Dame Stella
Rimington, Ms Kitteridge has, as the
ser vice’s first female director, allowed a
force 10 gale to blow through the stuffy
corridors of her publicity-shy corner of
the secret state. What Dame Stella did for
MI5, Ms Kitteridge hopes to do for the
Her latest foray into the public sphere
occurred earlier this week at the 2015
Privacy and Identity Conference in
Wellington. Having heard Ms Kitteridge’s
frank address, New Zealand’s Privacy
Commissioner, John Edwards, vouchsafed
to his audience that he “could not
remember such a presentation from an
Perhaps the most intriguing offering
from Ms Kitteridge concerned the
ser vice’s limited options for improving its
public image. The sort of PR opportunities
that were open to other State agencies
— m ost notably the police and Customs
officers — were simply not available to the
SIS. It would be difficult, she suggested to
make a reality show out of a State agency
that was required to “do everything behind
locked doors. ”
For shame, Ms Kitteridge! Reality
shows are not the only vehicles for
showcasing the day-to-day activities of
State operatives. Indeed, there is an old
saying among those who have made it
their business to report the activities of the
secret state: “If you want to tell the truth
— write fiction.”
If Ms Kitteridge wants to improve the
public ’s image and understanding of
the SIS, she has only to persuade New
Zealand on Air to fund a television drama
series about its activities.
Was it no more than coincidence that
in the years immediately following Dame
Stella’s stint at MI5 the BBC began airing
the hit series Spooks? The show ’s creator,
Jane Featherstone, told the Daily Mail
that: “At first the intelligence ser vices
were resistant, and they let that be known
through former members who acted
as technical advisers on Spooks.” But,
eventually, says Featherstone, the real
spooks came around. “ They even used the
first series to help with their (recruitment)
It is not as if there is not plenty of
experienced writing talent close at hand.
The British-born television writer, Neil
Cross, who wrote numerous episodes of
Spooks, as well as the memorable detective
thriller, Luther, has lived in Wellington for
The storylines for such a series
(working title The Ser vice) would no
doubt include many of the issues raised
in Ms Kitteridge’s speech. Imagine the
possibilities of a story-line based upon
Islamic State’s use of social media. Or
about tracking-down the member of
the public who tipped the SIS off about
a plot to contaminate New Zealand’s
dairy exports. More controversially, there
could be an episode about a terrorist cell
undergoing military training in the bush.
If Ms Kitteridge is really serious about
letting the public know just how difficult
her job can be, she could advise the
series writers on how an SIS director
might respond to an attempt to use the
SIS for political purposes. What does
the director do when someone from the
Prime Minister’s Office approaches her
with a request to blacken the name of a
political opponent? Or when one of her
agents discovers that the Israeli Embassy
has recruited a prominent blogger to
blacken the reputations of pro-Palestinian
Just imagine the dramatic possibilities of
a ‘black hat ’ hacker, recruited to turn the
tables on Chinese cyber-criminals who
have succeeded in penetrating the defences
of one of New Zealand’s most innovative
companies. Should the director use her
hacker’s talents independently, or share him
with the Government Communications
Security Bureau’s own team of ‘computer
network operations specialists’? How
should she fend off the furious inter vention
of a Foreign Minister desperate to keep
New Zealand’s relationship with the
Chinese Government on an even keel?
If Ms Kitteridge cannot give us the facts
about the SIS, she could at least try to tell
us the truth — by commissioning fiction.
Chris Trotter is a left-wing political
SIS director could commission fiction to tell truth
efore titanium, before
graphite, before composites
and before steel, golf clubs
had shafts of wood, ideally
hickory. That era ended 80
years ago for most golfers.
But it lives on today among a coterie of
enthusiasts who revel in their anachronism,
spurning modern clubs that promise
maximum ‘moment of inertia,’ minimum
‘cross-sectional deformation,’ and other
attributes from that twilight zone between
technology and marketing.
“Some people think steel shafts will
catch on, but I don’t want to rush into it,”
Philip Truett, president of the British Golf
Collectors Society says. Many golfers felt
likewise a century ago, when steel shafts
first appeared, painted brown to look like
But by the mid-1930s, steel had
vanquished wood, except among hard core
Truett only plays with hickory-shaft
clubs. That is extreme, even among hickory
Most have modern clubs with steel or
graphite shafts for regular rounds. They
reser ve their wooden shafts for special
Among them: the annual Scottish
Hickory Championship, the Transylvanian
Hickory Open in Romania, the Open de
France Hickory and a biennial America
v Europe event known, reverently, as the
The next one is in October at Baltusrol
Golf Club in New Jersey, which has hosted
several professional major tournaments
(played with modern clubs).
Just what inspires devotion to yester-tech
equipment is not obvious. Typical golfers
shell out hundreds of dollars for cavity-
backed, face-balanced, nano-alloy carbon
fibre creations, hoping for longer and
straighter shots. Annual golf-equipment
sales total about $12.5 billion worldwide,
industry studies show.
But to wood-shaft enthusiasts, it is more
satisfying to hit a hickory ‘mongrel mashie’
than its modern equivalent, a five iron.
“It brought back the memory of why I
played the game to begin with,” explains
former American professional Mark
Carnevale, now a radio golf analyst, who
played his first hickory round last summer
and hopes to play in October’s World
Hickory Open at Carnoustie in Scotland.
“I could go out there and be an artist, so
Neil Millar, a London university professor
and hickory enthusiast, added: “ There’s a
tactile aspect, the feel of the ball on the club
Millar ‘stumbled into’ hickory golf five
years ago at a club-collectors meeting, and
was surprised to see collectors playing with
Indeed, collectors started hickory-
golf events to do something with their
clubs besides look at them. Members
of America’s Golf Collectors Society,
founded in 1970, staged ‘hickory hacker’
tournaments before founding the Society
of Hickory Golfers in 2000. It has 800
members and a twice-yearly magazine, the
The British Golf Collectors Society,
founded in 1987, is about the same size. It
has a formula for converting golfers’ regular
scoring handicaps (the number of strokes
allowed above par) to hickory handicaps.
Golfers with regular handicaps between
nine and 14, for example, get an extra five
strokes when playing with hickory clubs —
for good reason.
While modern golf clubs have extra-
large sweet spots that propel a ball further
and minimise the errant ball-flight from
mishits, hickory clubs have smaller heads
and are not forgiving. The ball does not
go as far and slightly off-centre hits fly far
“In hickory golf you remember your
good shots,” Tony Hunt from Sevenoaks,
England, winner of the English Seniors
Hickory Championship two years ago says.
“In modern golf you remember your bad
And while modern clubs emit a metallic
‘ping’ sound when striking a golf ball,
he adds, hickory clubs resonate with a
Hunt discovered hickory golf six years
ago, when he spotted old clubs at a
furniture auction, bought them and tried
them. Later, the retiree turned his hickory
hobby into a part-time business.
Today he owns more than 60 sets of
hickory clubs, which he restored himself.
His business, South of England Hickory
Golf, hires out the sets for ‘vintage golf ’
outings at courses celebrating special events,
such as centennial anniversaries.
Players don period dress, such as plus-
fours and argyle socks. Hunt staged 20
events last year, and did one recently at the
Royal Automobile Club’s Old Course in
Epsom (where this writer was an eager,
though often hapless, participant).
Some rare collectible hickory clubs
cost more than $5000. But most restored
hickories sell for $60 to $150. A set with
five to seven clubs suitable for play can be
had for $500 to $600 — not much more
than a new graphite-composite driver.
“I carry just five clubs — a driver, a
putter and three irons,” says Truett, far
less than a modern set ’s 14 clubs. The
temptation to splurge on new equipment
every year, he adds, is “out of the equation”.
Hickory still top dog
President of the British Golf Collectors Society and hickory golf enthusiast Philip Truett, wearing period dress, poses for a
picture with his playing clubs at the Royal Automobile Club’s Vintage Golf Day on its Old Course in Epsom, Britain.
The four-year-olds peer through a
submarine periscope and point out
They look like they are playing but
these pre-schoolers are actually learning
Chinese on their ‘visit to the beach’ via
Franklin Early Childhood School, in
Canberra’s north, is one of 41 pre-
schools taking part in a national trial to
teach young children foreign languages.
They are using game-like apps
especially developed by Melbourne
company Millipede to learn Chinese,
Indonesian, Japanese, French or Arabic.
So far the apps have been a huge hit at
Franklin, teacher Jacinda Fehre says.
The most popular has been a
telephone game, where children pick
a character who mouths Mandarin
phrases they have to repeat back.
Many of the children speak Mandarin
at home, which Ms Fehre says was the
main reason why the school chose that
language, but she says all students were
“The other children’s parents are
always happy to come and have a look
in the morning and want to watch them
playing on it,” she said.
“The children are happy to teach their
Data about how often the apps are
used and which parts are most popular
is sent to the education department
and used to inform the development of
Seven apps in all will be used during
They are all the same except for
the different languages, with some
customisation for cultural differences,
such as having a picture of the Eiffel
Tower instead of a dragon.
Teachers from all 41 pre-schools
were trained at the beginning of the
year in how to use the apps and how to
best incorporate them into the regular
Looking at how that training could
easily be given to all of Australia’s
pre-school teachers will be a key part
of evaluating the $9.8 million trial and
deciding if languages can be taught
Parents and teachers will also be asked
for their feedback.
Parliamentary Secretary for Education
Scott Ryan has visited several of the
preschools in the trial to get a feeling
for how it ’s going.
The six classes at Franklin make it one
of the biggest participants.
“ Every preschool room is a little
bit different,” he tells of the need for
“ We have a very diverse background,
for instance, in this (Canberra)
community, yet I’ve been into some
rooms where there are only eight kids in
the pre-school programme.”
Senator Ryan also wants to examine
the long term effects of teaching pre-
schoolers languages, including whether
more of them will go on to study
languages at primary and high schools
and if they get better results. — A AP
Technology gets children
talking other tongues
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