Home' Greymouth Star : November 12th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
Some very straight talking went
on behind closed doors at Labour’s
annual conference in Palmerston
North. People described only as
“senior party people” visited the
party’s “sector groups” (women,
youth, Maori, Pasifika, rainbow)
with a very clear message. All
reform proposals smacking of what
some experts call “identity politics”
and others refer to as “social
liberalism” are on the down-low.
Not forbidden, exactly, but to be
kept well away from the media
spotlight. In the simplest terms:
the days of “man bans” are over.
The party leader’s stirring
keynote speech highlighted in
dramatic terms where Labour’s
focus has shifted. When Andrew
Little was a young industrial
lawyer, working for the Engineers
Union, his conser vative “brothers”
would have described Labour’s
new stance as “concentrating on
the bread-and-butter issues that
ordinary people care about ”. Other
organisers, in more radical unions,
would have lamented Labour’s
“economism”, a Mar xist-Leninist
term denoting an exclusive focus
on working people’s material
(as opposed to their political)
Little, himself, is calling it
“rebuilding the New Zealand
dream”. In the simplest terms:
“O wning a home; having security
for the people we love; a chance
to enjoy the outdoors and the
environment we love and a job that
gives us the time and the money to
lead a fulfilling life. These are the
aspirations that we all share.”
Now, if that rather clunky
definition conjures-up an image of
a 1960s family — dad, mum and
the kids; standing in front of dad’s
shiny new Holden stationwagon;
with mum’s spotless suburban
bungalow in the background —
then Little’s speech-writers have
done their job. Because if you
ask the baby-boom generation to
describe how the New Zealand
dream looked, back in the days
when it seemed within the reach of
every family, chances are they will
say it looked like this. If you ask
the younger generation to describe
the New Zealand dream, they
will likely begin by highlighting
how little of their parent ’s idyllic
ensemble they can expect to
Nostalgia and aspiration are
powerful emotions, and when
you attach them to a simple set of
desired things, then the political
effects can be startling. That is
why, in one way or another, the
idea of the New Zealand dream
is exploited by every political
party. National might substitute
a Mercedes Benz for the Holden,
and a graceful arts and crafts
mansion for the suburban
bungalow. The Greens might add
solar panels to the bungalow ’s
roof and put the whole family on
bicycles. New Zealand First might
include grandma and grandpa
in the family line-up. In essence,
however, the dream remains the
Allowing the dream to slip away
is thus, for most of the electorate,
the very definition of political
failure. Accordingly, parties will
argue endlessly about whether
they are succeeding or failing to
keep the New Zealand dream
alive. Most will react with alarm,
however, if the reality and/or
desirability of the dream itself is
Hence the hard words delivered
to Labour’s sector groups last
weekend. Those “senior party
people” are determined that the
discordant notes of feminism,
indigenous rights and LGBT
activism do not intrude upon
the nostalgic and aspirational
harmonies of the militantly
“normal” New Zealand dreamers.
The memory of 2013’s “man ban”
still rankles, but a much deeper
psychic wound was inflicted by the
The New Zealand voter did
not enjoy being reminded that
behind the happy familial images
of material prosperity there
often lurked horrific stories of
child abuse. The idea that they,
themselves, might have ventured
even a little way along that grim
continuum of domestic violence
infuriated and repelled them —
and Helen Clark became the
lightning-rod for their rage.
Labour’s leaders are determined
that it will not happen again. No
rancid additives from the world of
identity politics will be permitted
to contaminate the bland bread-
and-butter promises of Little’s
And yet, for so many, the
dream he seeks to restore was
never anything other than a
nightmare. A horror story made
worse by the unrelenting pressure
to pretend that the injustices
and discrimination endured by
women, Maori, gays, lesbians
and transgendered persons was
not real, and was not happening.
Little’s soft-focus rendition of the
New Zealand dream was never
more than a sociological version
of The Picture of Dorian Gray. A
cursed portrait that, with every
tortured victim’s revelation, grows
Chris Trotter is a left-wing
4 - Thursday, November 12, 2015
Jennifer Dann poses questions for
Gillian Eadie, formerly of Greymouth. —
1 Why did you set up the Memory
As an educator, thinking skills have
always been my passion, so when I read
my sister’s research on memory I thought,
“This is too good just to leave inside
a thesis. ” I was retiring as principal of
Marsden School in Wellington so we
worked together to translate Allison’s
science into simple, practical activities,
neuro-games, courses and books. We aim
to teach as many people as possible how to
build brain resilience and reduce memory
loss while they’re still in their 50s and 60s
so they can live independently into old
2 What were the key findings of
Allison’s PhD research into the
effects of ageing on memory in 2008
was groundbreaking and attracted
international attention. She identified that
all six memory skills can be enhanced by
practising memory strategies and adopting
a brain-health lifestyle. We developed
neuro-games in partnership with the
University of Auckland’s computer
engineering and robotics lab which are
now on the health care robots being
trialled in seniors’ homes in Gore.
3 Why can’t I remember where I put my
Around the age of 50, brain changes
happen to us all. People think they’ve lost
their memory but they haven’t. They’ve just
lost some of the agility in connecting to
stored information. All five of your senses
are gathering information constantly and
your brain’s just waiting to know, “ What
it is you want me to remember?” You
just have to pay attention and connect
it to something you already know. From
there your brain will process it into the
long-term memory and you’ ll be able to
retrieve it. If you don’t pay attention and
attach memory traces, it simply disappears.
Building a robust cognitive reser ve while
the brain is healthy also provides a buffer
against memory disorders later in life.
4 What do you tell people about ageing?
Don’t say, “Oh, I’m having a senior
moment,” or joke “I ’ve got early onset
Alzheimer’s”. Don’t let your brain off
the hook. Getting older is not a time for
sitting back and letting things go by. You
need to keep your brain working for you
right ‘til the end. Chase that memory and
challenge your brain every day. Only one
person can look after your memory. I can’t
look after it for you.
5 You’re a teacher and your sister
Allison’s a scientist. What was it like
writing a book together?
We’ ll often laugh because I’ll ask her for
a succinct answer to a scientific question
and she’ll say, “ Well it can’t be done.
The answer just isn’t succinct.” I have a
way of breaking things down to make
them easy for people to understand but
that ’s all absolutely based on Allison’s
understanding of neuro-science. She’s
really quite amazing.
6 Did your parents have high academic
expectations of you both?
Yes, mum particularly. She was a fierce
Scot from that era when you went to work
to make your way in the world, but she
never stopped educating herself and was
determined that both Allison and I would
be educated too. If you only got 96%,
well what happened to those other four?
That was the approach. We were always
reaching for that little bit more. It never
occurred to me that there was anything
I couldn’t do. Even with the Memory
Foundation we’ve had plenty of people say,
“ What on earth are you doing this for?
You’re supposed to be retired. ” You just
can’t help yourself really.
7 What about your dad?
My love of fast engines comes from my
dad, who was a World War Two aircraft
engineer. I loved going to the speedway
as a child.Ihad alittle red MG I usedto
drive up and down the West Coast when
I was the sole charge speech therapist for
8 How did you become a pilot?
When we lived in Greymouth, my
husband Don was down at the local
having a few drinks and wondering what
to get me for my birthday when a flying
instructor suggested lessons. So he did. It
was just wonderful taking off at the end
of the day after Don got home from work.
The children were little then. I’d fly all
along the West Coast into the pink sunset.
The houses looked like monopoly pieces.
Anything that was getting you wound up
down there you’d just think, “No, it ’s all
9 Did you always want to be the
principal of a private school?
It wasn’t part of the game plan.
Opening doors for young people was
always the driving force for me. I taught
for many years while the children
were at school and a friend said to me,
“ When are you going to move on in
your career?” My husband had sold
his family’s transport company and I’d
supported his career and commitments
over the years, so we decided it was my
turn. I was appointed as principal of
St Oran’s College and we moved to
10 Do you prefer State or private
I like having the freedom to weigh up
what ’s possible for a young person and
I think there are more opportunities to
do that in an independent environment.
Although when I taught in State schools
I certainly didn’t feel hampered by
regulations. I was always looking for
innovative ways to teach. You can set a
simple maths problem but out of a class
of 25 students there could be seven or
eight different ways of approaching it.
We all come to problems from different
angles. That ’s why I’ve always pushed
to get more IT into schools because it
encourages innovation and recognises
different strands of thought. My schools
have all won awards for computer
11 Are you good at using IT?
Oh, I love it, but I do get terribly
frustrated sometimes. I think, “I’m an
honorary fellow of the New Zealand
Institute of IT Professionals and I can’t
even fix the layers of my Photoshop, for
crying out loud. ”
12 Your company received training
from CDC Hi-Tech and funding from
the University of Auckland’s SPARK
programme. How is the business going?
Having run schools for 20 years, I
thought starting a company would be a
breeze, but there was a surprising amount
I didn’t know. I’ve had to improve my
skills in things like accounting and
marketing. You think the world is just
waiting to hear your message but actually
you have to build trust. I think people
recognise now that we are authorities in
this area and we know what we’re talking
about. Our books have sold in over 40
countries. There are quite a lot of self-help
books out there but they don’t offer the
practical solutions we do. Once people
know they ’re actually in control of their
memories they gain confidence and hope
for the future.
— New Zealand Herald
Former Greymouth woman on life and . . .
Woman reveals harsh life of Catholic sect
s a young woman
growing up in Auckland
in the 1960s and 1970s,
Maria Hall dreamed
of “boys, of love and
marriage, and of living
on a houseboat ”.
Instead, in her 20s and 30s her life
took a tumultuous journey, first as a nun
in the Catholic Church, then inside the
cloistered walls of a breakaway Catholic
sect in Spain — the Palmarian Church.
Almost three decades on, Ms Hall,
now in her 60s, did eventually find love,
with Nicholas Abbott, “a man of science”
who she met when he came to fix her
In closing the darker chapter of her life
Ms Hall has written a book; Reparation:
A Spiritual Journey.
It begins with her decision, at 20, to
“devote her life to God” after her parish
priest suggested it.
As the youngest daughter in a family
of eight, born to a mother who had
“ breathed God’s love into every cell
of my being from the moment of
my conception”, a religious vocation
“Somehow, the sacrifice, the
commitment and the practice of Christian
virtue seemed worthwhile.”
From these years of faithful devotion,
a picture emerges of a young woman
searching for a purpose and a place.
But Ms Hall’s first years as a novice
in the Sacred Heart order were marked
by loneliness, with few peers her age
and elders who offered little advice or
“As a teenager I had been so vivacious
. . . but I had changed. Living with nuns
had turned my focus inwards, making me
Then a man she befriended took
advantage of her, leaving her pregnant
with a baby boy she gave up for
She turned to her religious elders for
support only to be dismissed and told she
had no vocation. “ If you did, this never
would have happened to you,” a senior
Left floundering, as a mother without a
child, a woman of faith without a calling,
the promise of a new life as a Palmarian
nun beckoned warmly. Ms Hall’s life in
the Palmarian Church was dominated
by religious rituals, sleepless nights and
gruelling domestic tasks — all done in the
compulsory silence enforced outside of
prayer or song.
She slept in a tiny room, on a wooden
bed, wore ill-fitting hand-me downs and
was cut off from the outside world.
When her father and sister came to visit,
she was allowed to see them only twice in
her 10-minute breaks. “Many years later
she (my sister) told me that she felt like I
Eventually this thankless commitment
eroded her once unfaltering faith. She left
with just a plane ticket home, some money
and a shoulder bag.
Back in New Zealand, Ms Hall had to
“re-learn how to be human”.
She recalled standing in a bar, holding
“ I’d been a Carmelite nun, which means
solitude, silence . . . you are just locked in
your own thoughts.”
This once steadfast faith “in a God
above”, is no longer. Now she relies on her
own strength, takes comfort from those
around her and pleasure from the natural
surrounds of her North Shore home,
where she lives with her partner.
The Palmarian Church
Considered to be a cult.
Started in the 1970s after four girls
c laimed to have seen a holy apparition
on farmland near the village of Palmar de
It has created its own rites, liturgies
and Bible. — New Zealand Herald
Maria Hall with partner Nick Abbott.
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uLetters to the editor
1035 - Death of King Canute the Great of
England, Denmark and Nor way.
1603 - Sir Walter Raleigh’s high treason trial
opens in Winchester, England.
1812 - Napoleon Bonaparte’s army reaches
Russian city Smolensk in retreat from Moscow.
1912 - Search party finds remains of
British explorer Captain Robert Scott and
his companions after the ill-fated South Pole
1927 - Leon Trotsky is expelled
from Communist Party in Russia,
and Joseph Stalin becomes
1944 - German battleship Tirpitz,
sister ship of the Bismarck and
Hitler’s last major warship, is sunk
by Lancaster bombers at Tromso
Fjord in northern Nor way.
1982 - Yuri Andropov is elected First
Secretary of the Soviet Communist party
following the death of L eonid Brezhnev;
Polish Solidarity union leader Lech Walesa is
freed after 11 months’ detention in a State-
owned hunting lodge.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Alexander Borodin, Russian composer
(1833-1887); Auguste Rodin, French sculptor
(1840-1917); Dr Sun Yat-Sen, founder of
Chinese Republic (1866-1926); Kim Hunter,
US actress (1922-2002); Princess Grace of
Monaco (1929-1982); Charles Manson, US
cult leader and convicted murderer
(1934-); Brian Hyland, US singer
(1943-); Booker T Jones, US rock
musician (1944-); Neil Young,
Canadian singer (1945-); Paul
McNamee, Australian tennis player
(1954-); Nadia Comaneci, Romanian
gymnast and Olympic gold medallist
(1961-); Naomi Wolf, American
author and feminist (1962-); Tonya Harding,
US ice-skater (1970-); Radha Mitchell,
Australian actress (1973-); Ryan Gosling,
Canadian actor (1980-); Anne Hathaway,
American actress (1982-) .
“ Don’t be a pal to your son. Be his father.
What child needs a 40-year-old for a friend?”
— Al Capp, American cartoonist (1909-1979).
“Then the word of the L ord came to him
saying, ‘ What are you doing here, Elijah?’ He
answered, ‘I have been very zealous for the
Lord, the God of hosts, for the Israelites have
forsaken your covenant, thrown down your
altars, and killed your prophets with the sword.
I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to
take it away ’.”
— I Kings 19:9-10
First step in lifting
PRO scheme off
the ground may be
taken next week with the opening of a Public
Relations Office in the old gaswork premises
opposite the council chambers in Tainui Street.
Greymouth Mayor Dr B M Dallas explained
this morning that Mr O H Jackson, holder
of the public relations ‘portfolio’, would be
responsible for getting the scheme under way.
No finance will be involved, said Dr Dallas.
Staffing the office will be voluntary helpers,
probably pensioners, who have a good
knowledge of the West Coast. Tourists would
be interested in the numerous historic spots in
Westland, he declared.
Trained staff to take over the office would be
appointed at a later date.
Carriage seats were ripped with knives, all the
lights were smashed, drinking fountain fittings
were torn out, lead pipes to a handbasin shorn
from the wall and two first aid kits wrecked in
an orgy of vandalism here on Monday night.
The target was a guard’s van and carriages at
the Arney Street railway workshops.
Greymouth police are investigating the
outbreak, which follows the plugging of
town door locks with wooden matches, some
time on Saturday, an event duplicated in the
Greymouth High School last week.
In one of Greymouth’s most popular games
are such bizarre terms as ‘sweating’, ‘calling’,
‘ legs 11’, and ‘10 Downing Street ’. The game is
housie, no longer a party pastime, but a gamble
where useful sums can be won.
Today enthusiastists can play housie in
Greymouth almost every night of the week,
and some do.
uFood for thought
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Labour dreams and nightmares
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