Home' Greymouth Star : September 18th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Friday, September 18, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
1502 - Christopher Columbus lands in what
is now Costa Rica on his fourth and last voyage
to the New World.
1931 - Japan begins siege of Mukden, using
bomber seaplanes and occupies other strategic
points in Manchuria.
1961 - Swedish UN Secretary-
General Dag Hammarskjold, 56,
is killed in an air crash while on a
peace mission to Congo.
1967 - United States announces
it will build anti-missile network to
counter any attack by China.
1970 - Jimi Hendrix, US rock
singer and guitarist, dies of a drug overdose
1973 - East Germany, West Germany and
the Bahamas are admitted to United Nations.
1991 - Two earthquakes rock Guatemala,
killing at least 17 people and injuring dozens
when their houses collapse.
1994 - US President Bill Clinton announces
that Haiti’s strongman Raoul Cedras has
agreed to leave power by October 15 and
permit US troops to enter the country.
2013 - The death toll from days of flooding in
southern and central Mexico rises to 80.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Samuel Johnson, English poet-critic
(1709-1784); Greta Garbo, Swedish-born
actress (1905-1990); Frankie
Avalon, US singer (1940-); James
Gandolfini, US actor (1961-2013);
Darren Gough, English cricketer
(1970-); Lance Armstrong, US
cyclist (1971-); Jada Pinkett Smith,
US actress (1971-); Louise Sauvage,
Australian Paralympian (1973-);
Ronaldo, Brazilian football star (1976-).
“All the world’s a stage and most of us are
— Sean O’Casey, Irish playwright.
“ Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in
their synagogues and proclaiming the Good
News of the Kingdom and curing every disease
and every sickness among the people.”
— (Matthew 4:23).
approached at least 37
local people in their
effort to build up the
candidate list for the Greymouth Borough
Council elections. One person responded to
the invitation. “ The result of our efforts was
disappointing,” said Jaycee president Mr M
Scott, this morning.
People approached were those the Jaycees
considered possessed qualities suitable for a
borough councillor. Main reason given for
people turning down the Jaycees invitation was
time involved in being a councillor. But it was
not solely the council meetings that deterred
people from standing, but also the demands
which would be made on them by the public.
Questioned on the response to the elections,
town clerk Mr G C Hayter said he was very
pleased with the number of candidates for
councillors (19) who had entered the field.
Elections will be required for all local bodies in
the borough, bar the hospital board, for which
the bare six members were nominated.
“I hope it will be a good clean fight, and
personally I am thrilled at the response to my
appeal,” said retiring Greymouth Mayor Mr F
W Baillie, when advised this afternoon of the
number of nominations for the mayoralty and
the borough council. At a council meeting two
months ago, Mr Baillie appealed to all public-
spirited citizens to show an interest in local
body affairs and make themselves available for
“This wonderful response shows that there
are people in the town prepared to shoulder
responsibilty and the town will be better for it,”
uFood for thought
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ibertad Infante has been
hosting Catholic ser vices
in the patio of her middle
class home for 20 years.
At first they stirred
interest from State
security agents who showed up with
inquiries, she said, especially after a
crowd of pilgrims once carried a large
cross through her neighbourhood in
Now, as Pope Francis is due for a
three-night visit starting tomorrow, the
celebrations of Mass on the patio are
innocuously routine and may soon no
longer be needed.
Construction is under way on a new
church in the neighbourhood, on a half-
hectare plot of land book-ended by two
giant, Soviet-era apartment blocks.
The church will be named after Pope
John Paul II, whose historic 1998 visit
to Cuba helped eliminate some of the
final barriers to religious freedom in
Catholicism is flourishing again in
the former Spanish colony, gradually
expanding its role and influence after
suffering repression for decades following
Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution.
It now has more autonomy than any
organisation outside the auspices of the
Cuba, which was officially atheist for
decades, is allowing each of the country’s
11 dioceses to build one new church for
the first time since 1959.
“There’s no going back,” said Infante, 54,
who started attending Mass only when
her late mother brought the services into
their home in the 1990s. “People are not
The Church still faces numerous
challenges, notably low attendance, a lack
of interest among youth and competition
from Afro-Cuban religions that accept
widely varying degrees of Catholic
dogma. There is also political tension
with dissidents who complain the Church
is more interested in courting influence
with the government than demanding
But the Church is more influential than
it has been in decades.
It says it has no specific agenda or
demands of the government beyond
pushing for more space for what it is
already doing: evangelising, educating,
and ministering to the sick, the elderly
and the poor.
“The Church just needs to be left alone
do to its work, predicated on evangelism,”
said Alfredo Petit, 89, the auxiliary
bishop of Havana who as a young
priest in 1966 and 1967 was held at a
government labour camp for 10 months,
one way religion was repressed in the
early years of Communist rule.
The Conference of Catholic Bishops of
Cuba estimates 60% of Cuba’s 11 million
people are baptised but only 3% to 5%
The Cuba that Pope Francis will see is
much more accepting of religion than the
one John Paul II discovered on his 1998
Although the Polish-born Pope was
famously anti-communist, he displayed
a non-threatening moderation in Cuba
and was also critical of longstanding
United States efforts to isolate the island.
Then-President Fidel Castro basked in
“May Cuba, with all its magnificent
potential, open itself up to the world, and
may the world open itself up to Cuba,”
John Paul said, in what turned out to be a
That two-way opening has developed
and led to detente between Cuba and
the United States after more than five
decades of hostility.
The two countries restored diplomatic
ties in July after cutting a deal that Pope
Francis himself helped broker.
Catholicism, once cautiously practised
by the devout few, is now obser ved openly
and without repercussion.
The Church is educating thousands of
Cubans, from preschoolers to university
students, in a country where officially the
State has a monopoly on education.
“The government was not favourable
at first, but it has slowly become tolerant
as it has seen the results,” Teresa Vaz,
director of the Sisters for the Love of
God preschool in Havana, which teaches
about 160 children aged two to four said.
An enormous poster of Jesus was
recently hung on the facade of the
national library in Havana’s Revolution
Square, where the pope will celebrate
Mass on Sunday, next to similarly large
images of revolutionary heroes Che
Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos that
are permanently fixed to government
In a State television inter view
with Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega,
interviewer Amaury Perez began the
show by kneeling before the Cardinal and
kissing his ring, an astonishing show of
reverence given the country’s recent past.
When Ortega negotiated the release
of 126 political prisoners with current
President Raul Castro in 2010 and 2011,
he achieved unprecedented influence for
a non-Communist in revolutionary Cuba.
At the Church’s urging, Cuba released
3522 common prisoners ahead of Pope
Francis’ visit, surpassing the 2900 freed
for Pope Benedict in 2012 and the 300
for John Paul in 1998.
Still, the new churches under
construction reveal the limits of progress.
Construction continues, but it is slow and
dependent on outside funding.
One, on the western end of Cuba in the
city of Sandino, is sponsored by a United
It is little more than a cornerstone and
a few posts.
A parish in Italy is helping finance the
John Paul Church in Havana, which for
now is just a half-built pantry attached to
the frame of a dining room.
Cuba’s government donated the land
as well as porticos recovered from the
temporary shrine where Pope Benedict
celebrated Mass during his visit in 2012.
Otherwise, Church officials must
scramble like anyone else in Cuba to
track down scarce building materials.
And while the Church is alone outside
the Communist Party structure in being
able to run small publications, it is shut
out of television or radio.
“Small concessions don’t mean we have
a healthy secularity,” Victor Filella, a
Spanish priest who has worked in Cuba
for four years, said.
“It ’s a testament that the Church has
not been extinguished but rather has
resisted and is gaining ground as the
pressure has decreased.”
Unitar y council
The comments by West Coast Regional
Council chairman Andrew Robb ‘that
any support for a unitary council should
be driven by what the community wants’
(Greymouth Star, September 12), are
surprising given the track record of the
said regional council under his leadership.
This is the same regional council, while
still under his leadership, that ignored the
wishes of West Coasters regarding the
continued use of aerial 1080.
This council grants 10-year, non-
notifiable consents to Ospri and the
Department of Conser vation, thus
depriving its ratepayers of any meaningful
manner of addressing concerns that they
When the manure hits the fan — as it
did over the funding for building of the
1080 factory at Rolleston — it divests
its responsibilities to its subsidiaries, and
the use of consultants further deliberately
creates yet other barriers to and deprives
citizens of, their right to have genuine
concerns addressed and answered by the
regional council that rubber-stamps these
If Mr Robb was serious about
community-driven consultation, he should
apply this equally across all aspects of the
regional council’s operations, not just those
that suit his own personal agenda.
‘ Welcome to
Recently I sold my house and business
in Nelson and purchased a motorhome
to travel around New Zealand to resettle
somewhere else, perhaps greener pastures
to retire in the future and to purchase
another home and start a new business
until I do.
After extensive South Island travel we
fell in love with the Grey district and its
people. So we started to look at the district
to settle. D uring the course of this we
had the misfortune of having to deal with
the Grey District Council. I do not know
where to start to explain the bad reception
that we got from some of the senior staff
at the departments we had to visit.
I had been warned that to get any
information from the council would be a
marathon, and more than likely expensive.
I got no straight answers and got sent
from pillar to post.
At the time I became really disappointed
with the bad ‘bully boy, power trip’ type
people that I had the misfortune to speak
The main reason for this letter is to
hopefully make the councillors and chief
executive aware that their staff are chasing
away possible new residents with this
I will not mention names in the public
domain, but since this issue I have
spoken to a lot of locals and other people
who have had the misfortune of having
to deal with these people and had no
resolve, which I find disappointing and
Our next step is to settle somewhere
else, where the local authority is happy to
accept new residents and businesses.
Grey District Council chief executive
Paul Pretorius responds: ”I am very sor ry
that Mr Hunt has had a less than satisfying
experience in dealing with us. We are ver y
proud of our ‘red carpet rather than red
tape’ approach to ser vice delivery and the
fact that our community, in two successive
sur veys, confirmed exceptionally high levels of
satisfaction with us. I am also ver y proud of
the high level of respect this administration
enjoys with government departments and in
the wider local government sector.
We are, however, not per fect and lapses
do occur f rom time to time. Our drive to
total excellence in ser ving council and our
community makes inputs like Mr Hunt’s very
important. I hope he gets to read this response
and will contact me so that I can deal with
the specifics of his complaint.
It is most unfortunate that he did not on
the day ask to speak to me or the relevant
manager. We maintain an open door policy
and I would have liked his concerns to be
dealt with there and then.
I have a number of staff away today, and
have been unable to determine who Mr Hunt
has spoken to or about what. As stated, I
would appreciate it if he could contact me.”
The Greymouth Star of August 28
recorded comments from Westland
District Mayor Mike Havill regarding
the activity of the Kumara Residents
Trust. I would first like to say that I have
the greatest respect for the work being
done by this trust. What I have difficulty
with, is that the district ’s mayor sees fit
to describe Kumara before the arrival of
this trust, as ‘a one-horse town where the
horse has long bolted’.
What the mayor failed to ascertain
before making this comment, was that
another Kumara trust had been active in
the community for some 30 years. This
was the Kumara Community Trust. This
trust formed a working relationship with
Robin Judkins at the outset of the Coast
to Coast, and year on year produced the
banquet that became a renowned part of
the Coast to Coast. The income from this
work was directed back into the Kumara
community. O ver the years, this trust
has supported the Kumara Memorial
Hall, Kumara RSA, Kumara School
and pool, Kumara sports ground plus
numerous grants to sports groups and
I have no wish to steal the limelight
from the residents trust. What I have
issue with is the mayor’s failure to
recognise the dedication and hard work
done by volunteers, without whom these
organisations would have struggled to
continue. Their efforts should not be
written off in such a manner.
In September 2013 the West Coast
Tourism board had its board meeting
at the Theatre Royal Hotel, in Kumara.
At that meeting it was stated there
was a huge growth in tourist numbers
from China and South-east Asia, and
that increased flights from China into
Christchurch were being proposed.
Public statements over the past few
months show those flights are now
Many nationalities were goldmining
around Kumara during the 1860 to 1930
era. Did that tourism board information
spark the idea to create a ‘grandiose’
memorial garden in Kumara, in memory
of only Chinese miners, who worked
mainly in the Greenstone area?
The Kumara Residents Trust (KRT)
and the community development officer
Mike Keenan, claim there are no ‘reser ves’
in Kumara, and that is the reason they
need to create one, hence using most of
the endowment fund because it cannot be
This is not true. There have been
reserves in Kumara for many years. The
old recreation ground, the old tennis
court area, and the Kumara School
and pool are on ‘reser ves’. The Kumara
Memorial Hall is on part reser ve and
needs a lot of maintenance. Endowment
funding could be used for community
projects on all of these.
At the Westland District Council
meeting at Fox Glacier in September
2014 the KRT asked for $398,000 from
the Kumara endowment fund, plus they
had already submitted an expression of
interest for $1,012,000 from the mayor’s
discretionary fund (MDF), with the total
amount to go towards the $1.5 million
proposed garden. At the same meeting,
the council resolved to ensure the future
maintenance of the garden would be
carried out at no cost to other Westland
ratepayers, but the council could levy a
targeted rate on the Kumara community
towards the maintenance.
a waste of money
The key to all this flag waving is very
clear to me — it is a wicked waste of
money — in view of all the needs of this
world. By rights it should have a red
herring across its cloth. The true purpose
of a flag is to denote the character,
heart and warmth of a nation, to rally
to a common banner or to mark a great
achievement, i.e. a victory, patience over
despair, intelligence over dumb insolence,
hope over adversity, faith in our fellow
Any pride, pomp, piffle and tosh is not
really present. A glimpse of the New
Zealand flag is, to a great many of us,
recognition of those who gave their
tomorrows for our today. Our flag is a
reminder to strive for peace — lest we
forget. It is not a mishmash of petrol
station signs, or the misused emblem
of a greedy airline. It is not under any
circumstances the colour of death, i.e.
Let our lovely ferns alone to bloom on
our hillsides — a balm to console. After
all, how many ferns are ranked in rows
on the graves of our dear children? Our
flag should not represent a blood sport,
sponsored by hucksters and a boon to the
alcohol industry. For shame.
This flag referendum, quasi vanity
project, is utterly disgusting and horrid.
Perhaps all the discarded flags of this
nonsensical balderdash could be kept to
wrap the shivering, starving, homeless,
lonely and neglected. Perhaps all Key ’s
pretty colours will keep them toasty
Re the endowment money requested for
the Kumara Chinese gardens.
On checking the council report and
resolution made at Fox Glacier on
September 25, 2014, the resolution reads
‘Subject to recommendation (a), council
approves and releases $398,000 from
the Kumara Endowment Funds for the
construction of the Kumara Chinese
gardens project ’.
Reading the council report of the same
date, recommendation (a) reads, ‘subject to
approval of MDI funding’.
It would seem, therefore, if this project
has not been successful for MDI funding,
elected members voting to release
endowment monies would be infringing
their own resolution made at the
September 2014 council meeting.
The mayor and council may apologise to
the Kumara community for the reported
anomaly from the August 27 meeting,
reverse or withhold the decision to release
endowment funds until proper due
diligence is in effect.
Through your column, I would like to
express appreciation of the generosity
of Vinnay Chandra and his staff of
McDonald’s restaurant who twice a year
provide a lunch for approximately 80 Care
clients. Not only is the nominal amount
paid by the participants only a fraction
of the actual value of the meal, but Mr
Chandra contributes an equal sum, all of
which is donated to a local charity. I feel
such a gesture should not go unnoticed.
A big ‘thank you’ also to the Care
committee for arranging such activities.
The elderly folk in the Greymouth district
are most fortunate to live in such a caring
Cubans attend a Mass at the construction site of a Catholic church in Havana.
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