Home' Greymouth Star : June 27th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Saturday, June 27, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
1693 - First women’s magazine, The Ladies’
Mercury, is published by John Dunton in
1787 - Edward Gibbon writes the last lines
of his classic Decline and Fall of the Roman
Empire, which was published the following
1880 - Ned Kelly and his gang
of bushrangers occupy Glenrowan
Hotel in Victoria.
1893 - Major stock market plunge
begins in the United States, leading
to a depression and the collapse of
600 banks and 74 railway companies.
1898 - Captain Joshua Slocum arrives at
Newport, Rhode Island, after completing the
first solo circumnavigation of the world.
1905 - Mutinous Russian soldiers seize the
battleship Potemkin in the Black Sea, throwing
the commander and several other officers
1940 - Soviet Union invades Romania during
World War Two after King Carol refuses to
cede Besarabia and Bukovina.
1944 - Allied forces take Cherbourg, France,
in World War Two — their biggest prize to
date in the Normandy Campaign.
1954 - World’s first nuclear power station
opens at Obninsk, near Moscow.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Alexis Bouvard, French astronomer
(1767-1843); Charles Stewart Parnell, Irish
nationalist leader (1846-1891);
Helen Keller, US blind and deaf
scholar (1880-1968); Bob Keeshan,
US actor Captain Kangaroo (1927-
2004); Ross Perot, US businessman
(1930-); Anna Moffo, US soprano
(1932-2006); Bruce Johnston,
US musician with the Beach
Boys (1942-); Julia D uffy, US actor (1951-
); Isabelle Adjani, French actor-producer
(1955-); Paul Roos, former AFL player and
current AFL coach (1963-); J. J. Abrams, US
television writer and producer (1966-); John
Eales, Australian rugby player (1970-); Tobey
Maguire, US actor (1975-); Raul, Spanish
footballer (1977-); Svetlana Kuznetsova,
Russian tennis player (1985-) .
“Genius is eternal patience. ” — Michelangelo,
Italian artist (1475-1564).
“ It was revealed to them that they were
ser ving not themselves but you, in regard to the
things that have now been announced to you
through those who brought you good news by
the Holy Spirit sent from heaven things into
which angels long to look.” — 1 Peter 1.12
Today marks the
100th anniversary of
white child, Alfred
Grey Ashton. Still living are his two daughters,
Miss Alice Mary Ashton (Greymouth) and
Mrs Florence Meadowcroft (Nelson), also a
son, Alfred Edwin Ashton (Nelson).
“ When we would ask him, dad always said
he was born in a tent on the Blaketown beach,”
related Miss Ashton today. “ However, I think
he was only joking but we never knew for sure. ”
Alfred Grey Ashton was a man of many
talents and was educated during his childhood
in a private house in Greymouth before
furthering his studies in Nelson. He showed
a rare talent and appreciation for music and
was sent by his father to Australia to receive
expert tuition as a pianist, cornetist and
painter. His musical talent was appreciated by
many residents. He was often called upon to
accompany artists at shows and concerts.
He passed away in 1926 as the result of a
stroke. His funeral was one of the biggest seen
in Greymouth up until that time.
Should senior field assistant Norman
George’s black labrador dog take on more
stately airs as its yelps and barks its way around
the Ministry of Works camp at Paringa, its
reason will be understandable. On Thursday
it became linked with one of New Zealand’s
biggest ever roading projects, the Haast Pass
The dog is called Knight, and it is after this
animal that Knights Point, the opening site for
the new road was named. Knights Point is a
high bluff rising almost vertically from the sea
and holds a commanding view to the south.
uFood for thought
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Sharing good fortune
20 years of Tindall Foundation
ne day, Stephen and
Margaret Tindall realised
they simply had more
money than they needed.
It was 1994, and The
Warehouse — the
company created by Sir Stephen — went
Their family was comfortable, so what
was the best way to spend the money?
The couple, always interested in
philanthropy, put Mrs Tindall’s shares into
a trust and the Tindall Foundation was
This year the family foundation
celebrates 20 years since its first donation.
Over that time it has given away
“ We wanted to be able to share what we
had with other people,” Sir Stephen said.
“ We had a conversation and decided that ’s
what we’re going to do with this (money)
— it was far too much for us to spend
Mrs Tindall, one of 10 children, had
been engaged in community work since
her teenage years.
“ We were a big family, but through the
church mum and dad always encouraged
helping other people. It was quite a natural
She met her future husband at a Rotary
Club Leadership Awards ceremony, and
the pair married in 1973.
She has volunteered weekly for 21 years
at Northcote’s De Paul House, which
provides families in need with a place
to stay and learn. When she began, her
youngest son Ben was only four, and got
dragged along too.
Since 2007 the foundation has donated
$1.36m to De Paul House, and Mrs
Tindall, a trained midwife, has donated
thousands of hours.
She leans for ward and speaks animatedly
“I really love it — I love working
with the mothers and the fathers and
the children, and we can look after the
children while the parents go to classes. ”
In 1995, the foundation’s first donation
of $2326 went to Auckland Teachers’
College out of an asset base of about
“ We started very low key and we got
inundated with applications from all over,”
Mrs Tindall said. “ We were all learning on
the job, really. We had one staff member
and a board, and piles of applications to go
Dividends from Mrs Tindall’s shares
in The Warehouse have enabled the
Tindall Foundation to give nearly $62m
to organisations supporting families and
social services. Last year, the Tindall
Foundation gave away $9,560,966 and
committed another $11,188,759 to
various organisations, mostly within
New Zealand, from a total asset base of
When it was first set up, Sir Stephen
did a television inter view. After wards
the foundation was over whelmed with
requests from people wanting money to
build extensions and new decks on their
Sir Stephen said from the beginning
he and Mrs Tindall were keen to place
the money back into the communities in
which Warehouse stores were situated, and
they now use local funding managers to
Sir Stephen speaks passionately about
a health science academy set up by the
Counties Manukau District Health Board
to encourage Maori and island students
to train as medical professionals. His wife
and their eldest daughter Elizabeth —
who sits across a table from her parents
— join in and it becomes hard to discern
who is saying what.
The Tindalls are a tight-knit family.
Elizabeth works as the foundation’s
communications adviser, as does their
daughter Kate. Their eldest son Rob is a
Mrs Tindall says Sir Stephen likes
“ bigger picture” projects, and agrees when
he says she is passionate about smaller
“The projects that don’t get seen,” she
“Small local groups that are just doing
great work with families — like parenting
courses or budgeting.”
The foundation now has seven staff
and five trustees, plus about 18 funding
managers working around New Zealand.
The five Tindall children are beginning to
take on philanthropy themselves. Says Sir
Stephen: “ We love it.”
— N Z ME-New Zealand Herald
Sir Stephen and Margaret Tindall began their philanthropic foundation after they realised they had more money than they knew what to do with.
Cartoons of Mohammed again
Would it be all right if I called Geert
Wilders a piece of human waste? No?
Damn. Well, then, can I call him a deeply
cynical politician who is willing to get
people killed to advance his political
career? Okay, thanks.
Geert Wilders is a deeply cynical Dutch
politician who is willing to get people
killed to advance his political career.
Sometimes they are Muslims, sometimes
they are people of Christian heritage —
that does not really matter, so long as he
reaps the publicity. Now he has come up
with a clever new way to outrage foolish
young Muslims and get them to murder
people for him.
Wilders realised that a little-known
Dutch law obliges the television
networks to show anything that a
politician wishes to include in a party
political broadcast. No censorship is
allowed on grounds of truth, of taste, or
even of safety. So the far-right politician,
whose whole political career has been
based on attacking Islam, decided to
air some truly nasty cartoons about the
One shows a man labelled
“ Mohammed” with snakes in his beard.
Another shows a rather loony-looking
young man who is clearly labelled “The
Prophet Mohammed”. A third shows
somebody who is probably meant to be
Mohammed on a unicycle, juggling five
chopped-off heads with letters attached
that spell Islam. Not funny, not clever, not
really even topical. Just nasty.
Most Muslims are uncomfortable with
images of Mohammed, and many believe
that they are blasphemous. That does not
mean that democratic, pluralist societies
like those of the west should ban such
images. Freedom of speech means that
any group, including any religious group,
should accept that it may be criticised,
even mocked in public. You cannot
demand special treatment just because
your feelings will be hurt.
But you can and should expect not to be
singled out for hatred simply because of
your particular religious beliefs. You have
the right to be protected from rhetoric
that deliberately confounds innocent
believers with terrorists (as Wilders
regularly does). You certainly have right
to be protected from incitements to
There is a world of difference between
Geert Wilders and the dozen people who
were murdered by Islamist extremists at
the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo
last January. They were equal-opportunity
cartoonists who targeted everybody with
equal irreverence and a fine absence of
discrimination; Wilders is a monomaniac
who wants to ban the Koran in the
Netherlands because it is “ like (Adolf
Hitler’s) Mein Kampf ”.
But he is a devious monomaniac,
because the people he is really trying to
incite to violence are Muslims. If he can
trick ignorant Muslims into killing people
by portraying the Prophet Mohammed in
ugly and insulting cartoons, he wins.
The cartoons Wilders has insisted be
broadcast on Dutch television were
originally shown at an event in Texas
last month which awarded a $10,000
prize for the best (i.e. worst) cartoon
about Mohammrd. The organisers were
trying to provoke a reaction, so they
invited Wilders to give the event a higher
profile. It worked wonderfully; two
simplistic young fanatics tried to attack
the conference, and were shot dead in the
So Wilders brought copies of the
cartoons home with him, and announced
that he would broadcast them on D utch
television as a defence of free speech. The
broadcast was supposed to go out in the
Netherlands on Saturday, but somebody
at the NPO1 television network managed
to mislay the tape Wilders had given
He was furiously indignant about that,
of course, and insisted that his right
as a party leader to put anything he
wants on the party political broadcasts
must be respected. He says he has now
been promised that it will go out on
Wednesday evening. If the promise is
kept, the rioting and killing will probably
have started by the time you read this.
Wilders knows perfectly well that this
will happen, and is content that it should.
He and his anti-Muslim allies on the far
right of D utch politics are what Marxists
used to call the “objective allies” of the
bearded Muslim extremists screaming
for blood in the streets and the more
calculating Muslim leaders who urge
those fanatics to go out and commit
violence in the name of “defending”
Both parties, however much they hate
each other, have a common interest in
keeping the outrage level among their
followers high, and they tacitly co-operate
to keep the pot boiling. The poor old
media know they are being manipulated
and exploited by people with truly
reprehensible agendas, but they cannot
simply refuse to report the news, even if
it is manufactured news (as is so often the
So, in a world where most people of any
religion or none simply want to get on
with their neighbours and lead a quiet
life, we are fed a constant diet of lies that
shows us a world full of blood-thirsty,
Oh, and by the way: Geert Wilders is a
piece of human waste.
Gwynne Dyer is an independent
journalist whose articles are published in
WORLD IN FOCUS
with Gwynne Dyer
‘Abhorrent ’ IS militants lack respect for history
The increasingly brutal and destructive
actions of extremist group Isis have been
condemned as “abhorrent ” by a New
Zealand specialist on Islam.
Islamic State militants have reportedly
laid waste to two historic mausoleums
in Palmyra, raising fears they could next
target the town’s Roman ruins.
The group has been destroying ancient
sites and monuments under the belief that
nothing should pre-date the birth of the
The latest devastation comes as
videos released by the group depict its
increasingly brutal and vicious behaviour
towards those who oppose them.
Head of the Islamic Studies Research
Unit at the University of Auckland, Zain
Ali, said there was one word to describe
the action of Isis — “abhorrent ”.
“That ’s really my take on it.
“I think their ideology is abhorrent, their
actions are abhorrent and the destruction
of monuments is again evidence of this
“Destruction of monuments is just
another thing in a grand list of despicable
abhorrent acts. They don’t have respect for
these things, no respect for history. ”
Dr Ali said he did not limit this word
to Islamic State’s actions towards ancient
sites and monuments.
“ Even more important is how they are
treating people. If they are prepared to
destroy monuments — they’re ancient,
they’re old, they’re made of rock . . . just
imagine what it is like for people.
“ Unlike statues, people feel pain. ”
Dr Ali said Isis continued to become
more brutal and vicious towards people for
He said the “shock value” of the actions
got it into the news, and gave it publicity.
“It serves military purpose as well.
They’re in a war and these type of
activities send out a message that if you’re
there to oppose us, this is what you will
“ It is a tool of intimidation.
“They ’re under a lot of pressure at the
moment, according to a lot of news
reports, Isis is losing territory. This is a way
to deflect the attention away from their
losses, and by being in the media with
these sort of activities it’s sort of a show of
Associate Professor of religion at the
University of Otago Greg Dawes said
one would expect a group such as Isis
to be destroying monuments that were
representing Pagan religion.
“But what Isis seem to be doing is much
broader than that. They certainly do
seem to be destroying sites that represent
Pagan religion, and also they seem to be
targeting some of the Shi’ite sites as well,
because of course they ’re a radically Sunni
“ I wonder too, whether some of it is
simply a matter of gaining attention, like
the You Tube videos beheading captives
and so on, which I think are as much a
matter of publicity as they are principal.
“ I think they ’ve probably got a religious
motivation and a broadly political one. ”
Dr Dawes said an interesting feature of
revivalist groups such as Islamic State was
that they had the view the original Islam
was the pure Islam.
“S hortly after that Islam went into a
decline and became contaminated with
Pagan beliefs, and so the Islam they
see around them they tend to regard as
“They have a very strange view of
history in the way that the history worth
preser ving is the original one, but much
of what followed was a corruption of the
“They tend to not have a lot of respect
for much of what we might think of as
their own history.” — NZME
The rubble of one of the shrines blown up by Islamic State militants at Palmyra in
Syria this week.
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