Home' Greymouth Star : October 23rd 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Friday, October 23, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
1641 - Great Irish Massacre occurs after
discovery of conspiracy against British.
1861 - First trans-Continental telegraph
message sent from San Francisco to President
Abraham Lincoln in Washington.
1929 - Panic selling on New York’s
Wall Street. The big banks step in
to prop up prices, but their efforts
cannot stave off the coming collapse
leading to the Great Depression.
1942 - British and Commonwealth
forces led by General Bernard
Montgomery launch a huge offensive
against German and Italian forces under
Rommel at El Alamein, Egypt.
1946 - The United Nations General Assembly
convenes in New York for the first time.
1954 - Allies agree to end the occupation of
1956 - Anti-Communist revolution breaks out
1962 - Soviet Union warns that a US
blockade of arms shipments to Cuba risks a
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Sarah Hale, US author (Mary Had A Little
Lamb) (1788-1879); Douglas Jardine, English
cricketer (1900-1958); Johnny Carson, US
television personality (1925-2005);
Diana Dors, British actress (1931-
1984); Pele, Brazilian soccer star
(1940-); Michael Crichton, US
author (1942-2008); Anita Roddick,
activist and founder of The Body
Shop (1942-2007); Weird Al
Yankovic, US parodist (1959-);
Princess Mako of Akishino of Japan (1991-).
“It is the characteristic of the most stringent
censorships that they give credibility to the
opinions they attack.” — Voltaire, French
author and philosopher (1694-1778).
“And this is eternal life, that they may know
You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom
You have sent.” — ( John 17:3).
One of the oldest
and best known
Cobden residents, Mr
died suddenly at his home on Wednesday. Born
in Ross 85 years ago, Mr Minehan had lived all
his life on the West Coast, mainly in Cobden.
He began his working career with Creagh’s
Brunner grocery and was later employed by the
Armstrong grocery business in Cobden.
In 1907, Mr Minehan took up land in
Cobden and cultivated the virgin country
into one of the foremost farms in the district.
As a jersey cattle exhibitor at A and P shows,
he almost scooped the pool. He was also a
prominent racehorse breeder and owner.
Throughout his many years in Cobden, Mr
Minehan was one of the leading members of
the parish of the Church of the Holy Rosary,
He is sur vived by one brother, Joseph
(Christchurch); three daughters, Josie (Mrs Pat
Larmer, Darfield), Misses Constance Minehan
(Cobden) and Valerie Minehan (Wellington);
three sons, Thomas and John (Cobden) and
Patrick (Ballarat, Victoria).
In an ideal setting for lessons are the children
from the school established at the Haast Pass
road contractors’ camp on the Paringa side of
the Whakapohai River. Understandably, they
have become widely known for their nature
The teacher is Mrs Dorothea Condon, wife of
one of the drivers on the contracting staff, and
the school which comes under the control of
the Canterbury Education Board is regarded as
“one of the happiest we have known — a fine
example of friendly co-operation between the
board and the contractrors.”
uFood for thought
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nyone with siblings knows
they can differ from
us in maddening ways.
They share our parents
and our family history,
but their personalities
can be so different. Birth order offers an
intuitively appealing explanation for these
The only problem is, it is a myth.
Psychologists have speculated on the
effects of birth order on personality for
well over a century. Sir Francis Galton
— pioneer of statistics, fingerprint
analysis, weather maps and arithmetic by
smell — supposed that firstborn children
benefitted from greater responsibility and
undivided parental attention. As a result
they were over-represented among high
Alfred Adler, protege of Sigmund
Freud, argued that the dethroning of
firstborns by younger siblings left an
enduring impression on their character.
First-borns, he argued, feel weighed
down by responsibility and have neurotic
and authoritarian tendencies. Later-born
siblings are often overindulged and seek
creative alternatives to conventional
Frank Sulloway ’s Born to Rebel,
published in 1996, made the strongest
case for birth-order effects on personality.
Referring to the popular big five
personality traits, he proposed that first-
borns tend to be more conscientiousness
and neurotic than laterborns, are
less agreeable and less open to new
experiences. In essence, first-borns are
anxious conser vatives and later-borns are
Scouring the historical record, Sulloway
found that later-borns were more
likely than first-borns to support the
French Revolution and the Protestant
Reformation. They were also more
likely to be at the vanguard of scientific
revolutions, such as Darwin’s theory of
These links between personality and
birth order ring true for many people. But
decades of research have failed to show
any consistent and substantial association
between birth order and any personality
Two studies published this month
should drive the final nails into the coffin
of birth-order effects.
In the first study, published recently in
the Proceedings of the National Academy
of Science, researchers examined the big
five traits (openness, conscientiousness,
extroversion, agreeableness and
neuroticism) in very large samples from
the United States, Great Britain and
In every sample, there was no
statistically reliable link between any
trait and birth order, after controlling for
factors such as gender, age and family size.
First-borns did not differ from later-
borns, either when comparing siblings
from different families or within the same
The second study examined the big five
traits in 377,000 American high school
After statistically controlling for
gender, age, family size, socio-economic
status and family structure, associations
between personality and birth order were
The trivially small effects they found
also contradicted common beliefs about
birth-order effects. First-borns were very
slightly more conscientious than later-
borns, but they were also very slightly
more agreeable and less neurotic, contrary
If the evidence for birth-order effects
on personality is so flimsy, why do people
continue to believe in them? This belief
is a classic example of what psychologists
call “illusory correlation”: the conviction
that two things are associated when they
One reason for this illusory belief is that
birth order is confounded with age. Any
differences in sibling personalities may
simply reflect first-borns’ greater maturity.
Conscientiousness, for instance,
increases over the course of childhood
development. So, at any given time,
firstborn children will tend to be more
conscientious than their later-born
A second reason for the illusory
correlation involves birth-order
stereotypes. People who are aware of
common beliefs about birth order will
bias their perceptions to confirm their
expectations, even in the absence of
This dynamic accounts for supposed
correlations between astrological star
signs and personality traits. Some weak
associations exist, but only among people
who are aware of the traits associated with
their sign. These people perceive their
personalities through the distorting lens
of their astrological expectations.
The third reason for illusory correlations
between personality and birth order is
over-generalisation. Birth order may
indeed be associated with differences in
behaviour in the context of early family
Older siblings may tend to be more
dominant and responsible; young ones
to be more indulged and free-spirited.
However, differences in specific roles
within the narrow confines of the
childhood family environment do not
generalise to broad, enduring personality
traits in the big wide world of adult life.
But while birth-order effects on
personality are illusory, it is now generally
accepted that birth order influences IQ.
Both studies mentioned earlier support
On average, later-born children are
somewhat less intelligent than first-borns.
Six times out of 10, the second of a pair
of siblings will score lower on IQ than the
Birth-order effects may also extend to
physical health. A recent study of more
than 200,000 Swedish military conscripts
found that firstborns have somewhat
greater cardiovascular fitness than
Another study of more than one
million Swedes found first-borns were
significantly less likely to die prematurely,
especially of accidents and suicide.
Birth order clearly matters, just not for
personality. Siblings loom large in our
lives, and the extent of their individuality
can be striking. Their differences cry out
for an explanation, which unfounded
ideas about birth order provide.
Nick Haslam, is a professor
of psychology at the University of
Melbourne. — New Zealand Herald
DWC off track
Development West Coast has lost its
CEO was the headline. Why would
anyone be surprised?
Joseph Thomas arrived with a good
background in regional development.
When he applied for the job it was for
the position of chief executive of an
organisation that was focused on regional
development. His research would have
shown that the organisation cost $1 to run
for every $1 it distributed.
By the time he was in the seat five
minutes he would have been concerned
about the Cranley Farms associated
investment, which now has a cost that
exceeds $9 million, and nothing left in
the tin for other struggling farmers. He
would have obser ved the conflicts of
interest around the table, which made
good decision making difficult or perhaps
You can be sure he struggled with the
trustees as it became clear the role he
was employed for was different to the
role advertised. Who knows how he
felt about the honey investment in the
Marlborough-based company, which was
made after the local producers refused to
be part of the DWC line, which was ‘we
can show you what you are doing wrong’.
Telling third generation honey producers
how to suck eggs was never going to work.
Cranberries mark II.
When Tony Williams was the chairman,
and very commercially focused, in 2010 he
was called by Grey District Mayor Tony
Kokshoorn and told that he should not
put his name up for re-election to the trust
by the councils as he had someone else
Then rot set in. From that point, cash
cascaded out of the trust in the form of
grants and loans to the Coast councils, and
its loans to business stopped.
Their appointee had his three-year
appointment extended by two years by
the three mayors — and yes, out popped
another $1m for each council to spend on
regional development? Really?
Now DWC has lost a chief executive, the
old guard among the trustees and staff are
back in control and as we know, ‘if nothing
changes, you just keep getting the same
I have received the following letter from
Westland District Mayor Mike Havill
responding to my concerns about the
process the Westland District Council
has followed in the matter of the Kumara
‘Council’s position on the matter of
the Kumara endowment fund is that the
resolutions council passed in September
2014 remain in place.
The Kumara Residents Trust have
asked to make a presentation at the next
council meeting on October 29, and you
are welcome to attend that meeting and
express your view to all elected members.
The meeting starts at 9am and is held in
the Westland District Council chambers,
36 Weld Street, Hokitika.
Council believes that the solution in this
matter lies in the Kumara community itself,
and ask that you work constructively with
the Kumara Residents Trust to resolve it.”
So the mayor states that the council’s
position (i.e. to give the money to the
Kumara Residents Trust (KRT) for the
Chinese garden) remains in place.
In response to an independent sur vey
which showed that the majority of Kumara
people do not want the endowment money
spent on the Chinese garden — nor do
they want to be represented by the KRT —
the mayor is on record in the Greymouth
Star (October 9) stating that the council
‘should probably get the agreement of
Kumara residents over spending the town’s
endowment fund on a single project ’’
Seven days later we have this complete
turnaround. Is this the rational thinking
of the person elected to manage our
Furthermore, to recommend that I work
constructively with the Kumara Residents
Trust (membership 40) begs the question,
why is council hell-bent on promoting the
interests of this splinter group?
The saving the kiwi feature (Greymouth
Star, October 2) prompts me to pen the
The claim that in all honesty it (DOC
involvement) saved the species is, in
my opinion, false. The real threat to the
Okarito kiwi (rowi) started in 1990 when
electronic tracking devices were fitted
to monitored kiwi. Rat, weasel and stoat
predation exploded, with 13 out of 14
monitored young birds killed in 2004,
leaving only 100 breeding pair at Okarito
— 200 birds.
From the horror story book Kiwi Hunter,
the author Sid Marsh informs readers
that he saw his first rowi one January day
in 2001: “I watched the team leader jab
a stick into the bird’s breeding burrow
then stretch to reach in and remove the
sole egg. He reached in again twice and
withdrew both breeding pair from the
Sid then tells us: “ The latest kiwi zone
initiative had evolved from those early
days (1990). After witnessing the above
extraction from the burrow, together with
what I had read and been told, it was
a graphic indicator of why DOC was
failing — with a regime built around over-
handling, breeding burrow interference
and unnecessary harassment of its charges.
It was a monitoring problem.”
Not a lot has changed since Sid left
South Westland in 2004. DOC still
fit tracking devises to monitored kiwi,
kea and other endangered birds. It is
my opinion that all this handling and
monitoring in the name of science is, in
fact, doing more harm than good.
New Zealand conser vation science,
along with its ‘kill everything’ toxins are
the real reason for most of the shocking
loss of birdlife, insects, bats and other
life in our forests. Can any reader or
scientist prove to me that stoats, weasels
and rats can not pick up the high
frequency signals from electronic
tracking devices? Please wait, there is
more, lots more. Watch this space.
The problem with
hospital A and E
There have been several recent articles
in the Christchurch media about the
woes of the Canterbury health system.
Comments include: “fatigue among staff in
the Canterbury health system is becoming
a safety risk”; “unable to meet increasing
acute and elective surgical demands due to
the theatre being constantly full”.
The enforced decreased on site expertise
and future reduced bed numbers at Grey
Base Hospital, combined with no beds at
Buller and Reefton hospitals, should make
matters even worse.
Increasing funding to Canterbury was
proposed as a solution. Restoring regional
services was not considered.
Some of the comments in the media give
clues to additional solutions. A comment
by an A and E specialist, “pressure on the
system is significant with the complexity
of the patients coming in”. This comment,
together with increased demand for acute
surgery, suggests that there is a failure
in primary care, early intervention and
possibly management of acute illnesses.
Changes to the hospital A and E system,
combined with shorter working hours
for doctors over the past three decades,
have contributed to the problem. Shorter
hours mean less experience and greater
discontinuity of care. Using health targets
such as shorter time in A and E as quality
indicators has contributed to diminished
In the past, time to appropriate treatment
rather than time in A and E was considered
as an indicator of quality of care.
Those with non-urgent problems were
not ignored and told to go back to the GP.
Treatment or investigations were initiated
and follow-up arranged. A source of
access was provided in case of follow-up
In many well functioning hospital systems
in New Zealand, A and E was simply a
physical location where different hospital
teams worked together to determine the
best course of action. Such systems were
also better for continuing education of GPs
and improving primary care.
Correcting Big Ben
You report in last Monday ’s issue that,
‘Big Ben, the British Parliament ’s famous
The clock is called the Great
Westminister clock. Big Ben is the
name of the bell and the tower is called
Elizabeth Tower (or sometimes Clock
D M Parry
Local dancing talent
The Limelight Dance show was well
worth going to, the cast was great and the
effort put into the costumes was brilliant.
Shakespeare is difficult to act out but
everyone pulled it off beautifully. Keep
it up, I am looking for ward to the next
As president and sole member of the
‘Kumara Visionaries Association’, I am
compelled to write and offer the solution
to the current woes besetting the wrangle
over the said endowment land monies.
The money could be used to purchase
two permanent speed cameras mounted
at either end of our tranquil town and the
money ploughed back into the town ... and
in no time at all, Chinese gardens, BMX
track for the kids, pensioner flats — the
list is endless — all paid for.
Why, neighbour would go back to
helping neighbour, peace, tranquillity
and smiles would all return to the little
township. I rest my case and eagerly await
the next vision or speeding motorist,
whichever comes first.
‘Kumara Country Club’
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