Home' Greymouth Star : June 17th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Wednesday, June 17, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
1775 - In the American War of Independence,
British forces defeat the Americans at the Battle
of Bunker Hill near Boston.
1843 - Maori revolt against British in New
1867 - Joseph Lister performs
the first surgical operation under
antiseptic conditions on his sister
1939 - The last person to be
publicly guillotined in France,
murderer Eugen Weidmann, is
executed before a large crowd at Versailles.
1940 - The allied troop ship Lancastria is sunk
by enemy fire.
1950 - The first kidney transplant is performed
by Dr Richard Lawler, in Chicago.
1972 - A break-in at the Democratic party
headquarters in the Watergate building in
Washington, DC, is discovered.
1974 - A bomb planted by Irish republican
guerillas explodes at Westminster Hall.
1994 - O J Simpson, accused of killing his
ex-wife and a male friend, is arrested after a
dramatic motorway chase.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
John Wesley, English founder of Methodism
(1703-1791); Henry Lawson, Australian poet
(1867-1922);John Hersey, US author (1914-
1993); Beryl Reid, British actress
(1920-1996); Ken L oach, British
film director (1936-); Barry Manilow,
US singer-pianist (1946-); Jon Gries,
US actor (1957-); Greg Kinnear,
US actor (1963-); Jason Patric, US
actor (1966-); James Corden, British
actor and comedian (1978-); Venus
Williams, US tennis player (1980-) .
“ You may prove anything by figures.” —
Thomas Carlyle, Scottish writer (1795-1881).
“Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks
He gave it to them, and all of them drank from
it. He said to them, “ This is My blood of the
covenant, which is poured out for many.”
— (Mark 14.23-24).
thousands, of cars
have been in danger of
crashing through the
‘shell’ of the road at the corner of Chapel and
Alexander streets which has covered a ‘cavern’
discovered by Greymouth Borough Council
workmen this morning. The cavern, which is
“ big enough for a man to move around in”, was
discovered by council staff during operations to
find a break in a sewer.
While traffic is relatively light on this corner
during the week, at the weekend it is used
heavily by people attending adjacent churches.
Just how long the hole has been there is
hard to estimate, but the acting engineer to
the borough council, Mr W R Hall said this
morning it must have existed for “quite a time”.
The hole has been caused by the action of
water escaping from the sewer. Mr Hall said
it had been a real danger as only the thin shell
of the road was supportinhg the traffic passing
A well-known resident of Blaketown, Mrs
Mary Margaret Willis died at her home early
this morning. Mrs Willis was born at Ross,
moving to Ngahere as a young girl. For the
past 45 years she had resided at Collins Street,
Mrs Willis was an active worker in
community affiars and was a member of many
organisations. She was a foundation member of
the Blaketown CWI and a life member of the
Blaketown Women’s Bowling Club.
Predeceased by her husband Tom four years
ago, she is sur vived by two sons, Jim (Kaiata)
and Bill (Blaketown) and two daugters,
Mildred (Mrs J Hickling, Blaketown) and
Florence (Mrs C Wild, Seddon).
uFood for thought
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ings and commoners gather
at Waterloo tomorrow
to mark the battle’s
bicentenary in a show of
European unity not seen
for a major anniversary at
the site since history changed course there
on June 18, 1815.
Days of official ceremony, a music-and-
fireworks spectacular and re-enactments of
the bloody summer day that finally ended
Napoleon’s French domination of the
continent have been heralded by a flurry of
academic reassessment of the conflict and
renewed debate, and discomfort, over its
meaning for Europe today.
At the site, 20km south of the
headquarters of the European Union in
the Belgian capital Brussels, descendants
of the British, Dutch, Belgian, German
and French combatants will gather
alongside State representatives in a spirit
It is a contrast not just to the 1915
centenary, under World War One German
occupation, but also to 1965, when France
snubbed British events for the 150th
anniversary. Its president, Charles de
Gaulle was busy keeping Britain out of
the Brussels club while, deep in the Cold
War, West Germany and Belgium muted
celebrations for fear of alienating France, a
key Nato ally against the Soviet Union.
Now, as the EU faces new struggles
to keep Britain (and Greece) in and a
resurgent Russia out, part of the exercise
lies in reviving the name of Waterloo.
Some 40,000 men may have been killed
or wounded in a battle that brought a
century of fitful peace, but these days to
many people the word means little more
than a 1974 Eurohit for Swedish popsters
“Remembering sacrifices made is only
the start,” said the British ambassador
to Belgium, Alison Rose. “ We must put
at least as much effort into making a
difference today — in promoting respect,
justice and reconciliation.”
France, still ambivalent toward the gore
and glory of the Napoleonic dictatorship
that followed a revolution in the name
of liberty, will send its ambassador to
a ceremony featuring the monarchs of
Belgium and the Netherlands.
Queen Elizabeth will be represented
by by her cousin the Duke of Kent, and
senior officials from the EU are expected,
though none from Russia or Austria, the
other allies against Napoleonic France.
Germany, too, will send its envoy. Its
people fought for Britain’s Hanoverian
king and in Marshal Bluecher’s Prussian
army, whose arrival saved the day for
the D uke of Wellington and his D utch
For all the official harmony, sensitivities
run deep. Paris used its rights in the EU
currency system to block Belgium from
issuing a commemorative euro coin for the
battle — only to be outflanked when the
Brussels mint last week issued Waterloo
coins anyway, albeit as mere souvenirs.
Major General Evelyn Webb-Carter,
an organiser of British bicentenary
events, said Waterloo not only ushered
in an age of British prosperity, but that
“ its consequence was the building of
the Europe that we know and recognise
But King Willem-Alexander of the
Netherlands, stressed Waterloo’s role in
establishing his own throne, but saw no
lessons to inspire co-operation today.
David Bell, a historian of France at
Princeton University said the importance
of the battle itself was “often overstated”.
He said Napoleon, exiled the previous
year, could not have regained his
hegemony, although he might have made
the 19th century a less stable one if he had
For locals in the Brussels commuter belt,
the anniversary is about tourism. They
expect 200,000 visitors this week, who will
be able to see a new visitor centre as well
as Wellington and Bonaparte’s bicorn hats,
reunited at the town museum.
“Of course, for us it was a defeat,” French
tourist Marylin Jacquin said on a recent
visit to the battlefield. “ But this is bringing
people together. It ’s a history we all share,
and close to Brussels, where now we’re
trying to work together in Europe.”
Among those promoting tourism around
the battle is Charles Bonaparte, who calls
his forebear the second most Googled
person after Jesus. “ People come to Europe
to see Napoleon,” he said.
But there will be descendants of less
famous people too.
Christine Dabbs was one of hundreds
who answered calls to share their family
stories, and recently visited Hougoumont
farm, the British stronghold that her
ancestor Private Matthew Clay helped to
defend against over whelming odds.
“ I felt a very close personal connection,”
Dabbs will return later this week after
a memorial tomorrow at London’s St
Paul’s Cathedral with the current Duke of
With the British government planning
a referendum soon on quitting the EU,
Eurosceptic commentators have evoked
Napoleon, and later Nazi German efforts
to unite Europe by force, as symbols of
what they see as a new continental tyranny
emerging from Brussels.
Yet notable among new studies by British
historians are some that give Germany
as much credit for the victory as Britain,
and a BBC primetime documentary that
portrays Bonaparte as an enlightened
lawgiver and genius, far from the ‘19th-
century Hitler’ of popular legend.
In France, there is less enthusiasm for
“The French have a problem with
their history, a permanent discomfort,”
explained Napoleon biographer Patrice
Gueniffey in the newspaper Le Monde.
“There’s no consensus ... They fail to face
up to their past, something the British
have no problem with. ”
Germans take a more positive view.
“ If anniversaries help people better
understand the idea of Europe, that ’s
great,” argued Kurt Kister, editor of
Munich’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
“ Despite the euro crisis, the far-right
and EU-fatigue, the old continent is in a
better, more peaceful state than ever. It ’s a
while since French, Germans and English
have shot each other.” — Reuters
Performers re-enact the Battle of Waterloo.
taxi ser vice
We have just walked back from the
concert in Greymouth taking the place
from the ‘F leetwood Back’ concert. We
rang a taxi to Cobden from the Regent
and were told it would take half an hour so
we walked to McDonald’s for a feed, rang
there and were told it would take an hour,
so we walked.
Two empty taxis passed us on the bridge
(in the rain). We saw one fellow get into
the taxi at Kells Hotel, do a u-turn and go
back into Cobden town.
How many taxis do they have on? I could
not believe it. Five to 10 minutes from
town to Cobden and still no taxi available.
What is this town and country coming to?
People doing the right thing not drinking
and driving, and you still have to walk.
It is going the same as health and safety.
What a load of bollocks. People have had
a gutsful of it. I am not ashamed to say
what a lot of people are thinking. Same as
the rates and lease payers paying to protect
land they do not own. I hope this gets
Greymouth Taxis operator Mer v Scott
responds: “The days of having 10 cars
rostered on over the weekend have long gone.
I would have expected Mr Buchanan, who
travelled to the event in a taxi, to have had
the foresight to book a taxi for the trip home.
On Saturday, between 5.47pm and 3.10am,
we had 82 jobs, 40 of them were between
11pm and 2am. The previous weekend
between 6pm and 2.2am, we had 75 jobs
and on Friday night two weeks ago we had
just 28 jobs. To put this in context, four or
five years ago we were getting between 270
and 320 jobs just on a Saturday night and
had 10 cars working. It is not economical to
have that many cars today. We cannot afford
to have vehicles sitting around. We have also
knocked back a car on Tuesdays as we are not
Over the years, I have often heard the
expression ‘toe rag’, and in my mind I have
believed that it was a corruption of Tuareg.
So many of our everyday expressions have
come to us from military personnel, using
terms they had ‘picked-up’ overseas (Char-
China; Wallah-India; Commando-South
A member of the local constabulary
recently used the term ‘ toerag’’, and I
rushed into print to defend said sergeant
from a possible accusation of racist
language. My research has enlightened me,
as follows: ‘ Toerag’ is an old English term
to describe convicts, beggars etc, who used
the sleeves from old shirts, as socks.
The ‘ Tuareg’ are nomadic Arabs, who
wander around, and through, various North
African countries. Their name, translated
from Arabic, means ‘Abandoned by God’.
Michael J Millar
I note the recent article describing the
death of a Canterbury patient in 2013
due to a serious skin reaction due to an
antibiotic was accompanied by an apology
from the DHB. This is a very different
response to the case of a West Coast
patient in 2010 when he developed a
similar life threatening skin reaction called
toxic epidermal necrolysis.
This patient had skin reactions to several
antibiotics and had sur vived a similar
reaction in the past. He was given two
antibiotics which he was likely to react
to. He developed a reaction, described by
a nurse as “ like a severe sunburn all over
the body”. He also vomited blood due to
damage to his stomach.
In this case the antibiotics were
continued for three days after the
rash, even after a nurse questioned the
possibility of the rash being due to
antibiotics. After the death, there was an
apology but no acknowledgment of the
contribution of the antibiotic reaction to
the death. However, unlike the patient
from Canterbury, the West Coast death
was due to a combination of inappropriate
inter ventions and it was difficult to be
certain which combinations were most
I noticed the patient from Canterbury
is still awaiting a Health and Disability
Commissioner and coroner’s inquest. As
the death only occurred in 2013, 2015
could be considered early days. The West
Coast patient referred to under went a
Health and Disability Commissioner
investigation which took three years to
complete and a coroner’s inquest, which
took five years. Both investigations had to
rely on experts approved by the DHB and
concluded the death was due to natural
causes. If the effort and expense going into
cover-up goes to quality improvement,
there would not be such repetitions.
I recently suggested that the Moana
health facility could be funded by
disbanding the now obsolete West Coast
DHB board (obsolete since its agendas
are entirely set in Christchurch and
Wellington) and completing the $270,000
required by ‘disestablishing’ (as the
bureaucrats themselves like to call it) one
of the surplus computer knob-twiddlers in
the management offices.
Seeking, as always, to improve funding
of health ser vices as distinct from
bureaucratic empire-building, I have
another suggestion. Wouldn’t it be a
glorious proof of devotion to the public
health system if senior health bureaucrats
were to provide some health funding from
their own salaries?
Consider, for example, massive pay
increases awarded to DHB bosses in
the last financial year — and this when the
same people are crying out for
better DHB funding.
Southern DHB boss Carole Heatly
jumped by a whopping $110,000 to
around half a million. Hawke’s Bay chief
executive Kevin Snee successfully snared
a sizzling $70,000 to join the half-million
c lub. As an aside, how much do they pay
And Canterbury chief David Meates
got a $30,000 rise — which appears
comparatively Scrooge-like until one notes
it puts him in the $560,000 to $570,000
band. Nice work if you can get it, as
George Gershwin once wrote in a song,.
Wouldn’t it be mar vellous if Mr Meates
funded the Moana facility? After all,
I am sure that he could sur vive one
year on $300,000, especially when the
Government reckons that New Zealand
pensioners — with the obvious extra costs
arising from getting older — are supposed
to be able to get by on less than $20,000
a year. Am I alone in thinking that
rather puts bureaucrats’ salaries into stark
Democrats for Social Credit
Star United Rugby Club
Star United Rugby Club are planning a
reunion lunch in Greymouth on Sunday,
August 30, 2015. To register your interest
e-mail email@example.com or
contact Kieran Lowe or Colin Thomas on
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