Home' Greymouth Star : December 3rd 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Thursday, December 3, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
1775 - Lieutenant John Paul Jones hoists
the first seagoing American flag on the newly
commissioned continental naval ship, Alfred.
1861 - Temporary premises in Stafford
Street are obtained to publish the Otago Daily
Times after its building was destroyed by fire.
1863 - The New Zealand
Settlements Act becomes law. It
allows for the confiscation of land
belonging to Maori who take part in
1910 - Freda du Faur, from
Sydney, becomes the first woman to
climb Mt Cook
1914 - New Zealand and Australian troops
disembark in Egypt for training, during which
time the two forces form the New Zealand and
Australian Division, later Australian and New
Zealand Army Corps (Anzac).
1926 - A coalmine explosion kills nine
workers at Dobson on the West Coast.
1962 - London is blanketed by one of the
worst fogs in years, and scores of people die of
sulphur dioxide poisoning before it lifts.
1967 - Surgeons in Cape Town, South Africa,
led by Dr Christiaan Barnard, perform the first
human heart transplant.
1973 - The first oil shock hits New
Zealand, causing a number of measures to
be implemented by the Government, such as
reducing the open road speed to 80kph.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Anna Freud, Austrian psychoanalyst (1895-
1982); Andy Williams, US singer
(1927-2012); Jean-Luc Godard,
French film director (1930-); Ozzy
Osbourne, British rock singer
(1948-); Daryl Hannah, US actress
(1960-); Julianne Moore, US actress
(1960-); Stephen Donald, All Black
“There is many a good man to be found under
a shabby hat.” - - Chinese proverb.
“My comfort in my suffering is this: Your
promise preser ves my life.” — (Psalm 119:50).
Two boys have tied
for the Seddon Medal,
an unprecedented feat
in the 54-year history
of the examination. Peter Alexander Best, Grey
Main, and Michael Ronald Rogers, Cobden,
gained equal marks in ther boys’ Seddon Medal
examination, and the trustees have decided to
issue each of them with a medal of equal value.
The Seddon Medal for girls has been won by
Pamela Jean George, a pupil of the Grey Main
School, while Mary Hoffman, St Patrick’s
School, has taken the McBrearty Memorial
prize as well as the girls’ Bevilaqua Medal.
Anthony Connors won the boys’ Bevilaqua
Mary Clare Collie, who has spent the last 22
months on an elongated island of hills where
spiders are as big as a small soup plate, had no
qualms about ‘her’ island in the Solomons. The
23-year-old Greymouth girl — a schoolteacher
with experience now far beyond her years —
came back to her hometown on Monday after
a spell of missionary teaching on the island of
Malaita, 60 miles west of Guadalcanal.
Ask her today what she is going to do and
she cannot tell you because despite the dangers
of lighting a fire where unexploded bombs are
stiil plentiful she has fallen very much in love
with her Soloman island. The idea of going
back to teaching here is not attractive but
despite being home only a few days she wants
to get settled into some work for as long as she
can ‘stand’ the West Coast summer after the
heat of the tropics.
Desperate for ‘civilisation’ and desperately
short of teachers, the islanders have an
advocate in Miss Collie.
uFood for thought
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It is like reshuffling a deck of cards with
all the face cards missing. No matter how
often Andrew Little shuffles and cuts,
cuts and shuffles, he is never going to deal
himself a winning hand. Labour’s failure
to develop a simple and democratic
method of selecting electorate candidates
and drawing up its party list has, finally,
rendered it all but unelectable.
To become a Labour MP in 2015
one must first negotiate a multitude
of competing interest groups: women,
Maori, unions, youth, the rainbow
council. This is every bit as difficult as it
sounds, with numerous compromises and
trade-offs to be made all along the way.
Getting through this labyrinth leaves
Labour’s candidates with an extremely
detailed picture of the left’s ideological
landscape, but only the sketchiest notion
of the world in which 95% of New
Zealanders go about their daily lives.
It is a process that also puts a lot of
potentially excellent Labour candidates
off. Someone confident in their
understanding of industry, agriculture,
science, or (God forbid) running a
business, rightly feels affronted at the
prospect of being figuratively pinched,
poked and prodded by people whose
experience of the world is often extremely
limited and narrow.
Not surprisingly, narrow and limited
candidates have a head start.
Matters are not helped, of course, when
these narrow and limited individuals —
now MPs — turn against an obviously
talented and successful colleague and
conspire to bring him down. Andrew
Little’s demotion of David Cunliffe
— o ne of Labour’s most experienced
politicians — represents the unwarranted
triumph of spiteful fives and sixes over a
much-maligned king of hearts.
Nor is it helpful when these number
cards are given royal faces. Her regular
appearances in the women’s magazines
notwithstanding, Jacinda Ardern has
yet to impress as New Zealand’s queen
of hearts. No matter how rapidly he is
pushed up Labour’s pecking order, Kelvin
Davis will struggle to be recognised
as the king of clubs. Some chiefs may
have started out as warriors, but not all
warriors become chiefs.
What, then, should Labour do? If
it cannot choose candidates with the
same appeal to the voters as National’s
selections. If it cannot break its habit
of penalising talent and promoting
mediocrity. If it cannot even persuade
colleagues who have sat in Parliament
for three decades that it might be time to
move aside for someone younger. How
can it expect to win?
Helen Clark undoubtedly asked herself
the same question in 1996. Having just
led her party to its worst result since
1928 (28.19%) she needed some means
of lifting Labour’s numbers by at least 10
points to have any chance of winning the
1999 general election.
Three-quarters of these she secured
almost immediately when Winston
Peters, against public expectations, opted
to form a coalition with Jim Bolger’s
National Party. The remaining quarter
came from Jim Anderton’s Alliance,
which, in one of the most generous
gestures in New Zealand political history,
invited Clark to its annual conference
and there agreed to give voters the chance
of ending the bitter civil war on the left
of New Zealand politics by electing a
Labour-Alliance coalition government.
With Colin James’s poll of polls
currently putting the Labour Party just
under 31%, Andrew Little faces an
electoral conundrum no less taxing than
Helen Clark’s. Somehow, he has to find
an additional 10% to become a credible
contender for power.
The record shows that the Alliance’s
embrace of its bitter rival cost it nearly
a quarter of its 1996 vote. From 10.10%,
the Alliance’s vote fell to just 7.74%.
This two-point drop, when combined
with the decline in the NZ First and
National totals, was more than enough to
supply Labour with the 10-point boost it
Will Andrew Little turn 2017 into a
re-run of 1999? Will he use the occasion
of Labour’s 2016 centenary conference
to invite James Shaw and Metiria Turei
to join him on the stage for a symbolic
group hug? Will the three of them then
invite the New Zealand voter to bring
centre-left politics into the 21st century
by electing a Labour-Green coalition
government? The “optics” — as the spin-
doctors say — would be compelling.
As well as useful. Lacking face cards
of his own, Andrew Little could end up
winning the 2017 election with a royal
flush of greens.
Chris Trotter is a left-wing
Stacking the deck no guarantee for Labour
Trenton (New Jersey)
Chicago was his kind of
town, LA was his lady and
he certainly was a big part of
New York, New York.
But despite a love-hate
relationship, the mile-square
New Jersey city where Frank
Sinatra was born is finding
the centennial of his birth to
be a very good year.
Hoboken has remembered
its native son, who died in 1998 aged
82, with outdoor screenings of his
movies, a Sinatra Idol competition
and concerts that will be capped
by a centennial birthday bash on
December 12 at the Stevens Institute
of Technology, which awarded the high
school dropout an honorary degree in
The small-scale event is not
generating the same buzz as Sinatra
100 — An All-Star Grammy Concert
on December 2 in Las Vegas, featuring
Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga, Celine Dion
and other performers.
Even so, the Hoboken Historical
Museum has seen a 300% jump in
visitors since opening a Sinatra exhibit
in early August and has hired extra staff,
director Robert Foster said.
“ Whenever we do something on
Sinatra, people come out of the
woodwork,” Foster said. “ We enjoy the
fans because they are so loyal and he
means so much to them.”
Lacking any major items
that belonged to Sinatra,
the museum tells his story
through media displays and
visitors receive a map with
their $4 admission that
features Sinatra sites.
A plaque marks the former
building at 415 Monroe
Street where Sinatra was
born in 1915 to middle-class
His mother made sure her son had
nice clothes and even a car, which
helped him gain a spot in 1935 with
the singing group the Hoboken Four.
They won first prize on a national radio
programme for amateur entertainers,
and Sinatra started along a path that led
to big bands, bobby soxers and fame.
However, some Hoboken residents felt
Sinatra had forgotten them, reflected in
the reception he got when he rode on
a float in a 1947 parade and was pelted
with tomatoes, according to biographer
Ed Shirak. Sinatra later called Hoboken
Urban blight plagued the city until
the 1970s, when New Yorkers started
crossing the Hudson River to renovate
brownstones and build condominiums.
The icy relationship began to thaw in
1979 when the city changed River Road
to Sinatra Drive. A park and the city’s
main post office would also bear his
name. — AP
marks his 100th year
pume Shezi was
a baby when her
parents died of Aids.
For the past
10 years, her
watched over her, her older sister and
eight orphan cousins in a collection
of mud-and-daub huts clinging to
a windswept hillside in Qudeni, a
remote village in South Africa’s eastern
The struggle to feed and clothe 10
people for a decade on an old-age
pension — about $100 a month — is
evident from Mpume’s ancient pink
rubber shoes which no longer have
“The hardest thing is when we run out
of food that granny has bought and when
we run out of clothes and granny cannot
even get any from neighbours, and we
have nothing,” the 10-year-old said softly,
her hands clasped on her threadbare
Hunger and poverty are just some of
the threats facing the Aids orphans of
Qudeni, a village that, like thousands
of other villages in South Africa, is
struggling not just with the virus but the
aftermath of a generation of parents lost
The social fallout from a disease that
has left an estimated 2.3 million South
African children to be raised without
parents is proving particularly hard to
manage, experts say.
South Africa has the world’s biggest
Aids epidemic. About 6.3 million
people of its 53 million population are
HIV-positive, nearly 20% of the adult
population, according to United Nations
Aids. Millions have died since the
But work to tackle the virus has made
Since 2010, annual deaths from the
disease — once as high as a third of a
million people a year — have fallen by
more than a third as drug treatment
Weekend traffic jams of families headed
to funerals — once a normal part of life
in places like Soweto — have ended.
Treatment, not so long ago costly,
complex and hard to access, is much
simpler: one pill a day, free through
government health services for those sick
enough for treatment. Today 2.7 million
people are taking the drugs, according to
“It ’s been a remarkable turnaround,”
said Brian Brink, the former chief
medical officer for mining group Anglo
American and one of the earliest
advocates for broad Aids treatment
in South Africa, after successes in the
company ’s own programme.
Now HIV “is like a disability you can
get around. The ability to manage the
epidemic is extraordinary”, he said.
However the plight of the generation
left behind has drawn less attention, as
medical successes fill the headlines.
In communities around Qudeni, as a
generation of orphans reach their teenage
years, crimes like robbery and rape are
being reported with worrying regularity,
“The problems are getting worse and
worse,” said Eunice Khanyile, who runs
a government-funded soup kitchen in
“Grandmothers are being robbed and
raped on pension day. The fathers who
once structured the boys and helped them
grow up are not there,” she said.
Themba Mchunu, Qudeni’s traditional
leader, agrees those committing crimes
“are the ones who mainly never had
Many orphan teenage girls, looking for
love and financial support, are turning
to relationships with older men, getting
pregnant, dropping out of school and
finding themselves HIV positive, school,
health and community officials say.
In South Africa, just 4% of boys and
young men 15 to 24 years old carry the
virus that causes Aids. Among girls the
same age, the rate is 13%, according
to Southern African Development
Community (SADC) figures.
Aids is the number one cause of death
among adolescents in Africa with seven
in every 10 new infections in sub-
Saharan Africa among girls aged 15-19,
according to Unicef.
“ Without parents, these girls have
no stability. When men come and say
nice things to them, they easily go with
them,” said Nhalani Helngiwe Dlamini, a
community development worker.
Zitha Shelembe, principal at Bhuqwini
Secondary School in Qudeni, said there
was “a lasting psychological impact ” from
Aids deaths among parents.
“ Teenagers are discovering who they
are, and at that stage they are confused
and vulnerable,” he said.
“If they have to, they will go outside
the family to find a shoulder to cry on.
They trust that person and they should
Teenagers in Qudeni — like young
people everywhere — dream big, of
college and good jobs. Many say they
want to become doctors who work in
Qudeni to help quash Aids for good.
“If I can study and be a doctor, I want
to come back right here,” Mpume said.
“The greatest thing I could see is bringing
money to my granny to take care of the
rest of the family.”
Dlamini, the social worker whose home
looks out on Mpume’s grandmother’s
scattering of huts — which lie more
than 20km from even the nearest paved
road — is not so sure about the girl’s
“Life in this household is not
promising,” she said. “As these girls grow,
boys will come around and mess up their
lives even further. When girls grow up
this way, they end up finding comfort in
How often that search for comfort goes
wrong is evident at the neat, red-brick
health clinic in Qudeni.
HIV counsellor Siridisiwe Sikhakhame
says most of the new HIV-infected
patients are girls in their teens or early
“Mostly they are pregnant when they
come in. When you ask them how they
got it, they say, ‘My boyfriend has other
girlfriends’,” she said.
In an effort to address South Africa’s
high HIV transmission rate among
girls, a variety of programmes are
experimenting with setting up cash
transfers to girls to give them a source of
income and reduce the temptation to turn
to an older boyfriend.
One, based in KwaZulu Natal province,
offers girls cash to stay in school, pass
their exams and undergo regular HIV
Another programme in Khayelitsha,
an informal township in Cape Town,
offers free soccer coaching and teams for
teenage girls and boys, with coaching
in “life skills” — like avoiding HIV —
included as well, Brink said.
While the efforts are still in early
stages, their backers hope they will be
able to curb HIV infections and help
meet a U.S.-backed goal to reduce HIV
incidence among girls and young women
by 40%in hard-hit parts of 10 sub-
Saharan African countries by the end of
“As a society we have to do better,”
Brink said. The infection rate now “is
unconscionable. We have to be serious
and find ways to get the new infection
rate to zero.” — Reuters
South Africa’s Aids orphans
Orphan boys play in a South African village.
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