Home' Greymouth Star : December 4th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
6 - Friday, December 4, 2015
Audrey and Doug Attrill have
been married nearly 72 years and
are in the running to be New
Zealand’s longest married couple.
The pair met 77 years ago at a
local park near Mrs Attrill’s home
in New Plymouth. Mr Attrill
ended up doubling his future wife
home on his bicycle.
“ I thought he was a slight little
guy and I was quite a tall girl, I
didn’t think that much of it but
then after wards we used to see
each other around and wave to
each other, that sort of thing,”
Mrs Attrill said.
Mrs Attrill, 90, said her beau
left school and worked at the
Bank of Australasia for a year
before being signed to the navy
He was drafted to a ship in
the Middle East and sent the
occasional telegram to Mrs
Attrill. Eventually he came home
and the pair were married on
May 1, 1944, at the St Joseph’s
Catholic Church in the King
“They say absence makes the
heart grow fonder,” she said.
Mrs Attrill said weddings were
“ It was very hard to get material
to make wedding gowns and
there wasn’t always white material
around, we had coupons to get
every little bit of material.”
On her wedding day she was
able to get enough together to
wear “a pretty little dress and a
hat ” although no photos were
taken on the day as film was too
“It wasn’t a big wedding.
Travelling was difficult,
everything was difficult. But we
were very happy to be finally
“It had been an exciting type of
courtship, Doug would be here
one minute and he would be
called back the next and have to
just go no matter where he was. ”
They started their married lives
in the district before moving
back to Taranaki when their first
child, Viviene, now 70, came
along. They had another daughter,
Dianne, now 69, and now have
four grandchildren and three
Growing up in similar
circumstances was one thing Mrs
Attrill thought had kept the pair
together for so long. They had
both lost a parent early in life, had
come from similar backgrounds
and shared the same values.
“ We believed that marriage
was a sacred thing and when we
were married we automatically
believed it was forever. We never
thought of separation if things
didn’t please us. A marriage is
not a flash dress, a wedding cake,
a big crown and a party, that is
not what marriage is all about.
That ’s what young people think it
is today. But it’s something more
than that. Stick to the old values
and you won’t go wrong.”
Mr Attrill said the couple had
always had lots of fun together
too. “ We kept life interesting,
we’ve travelled everywhere. We
still have lots of fun sitting on our
chairs side by side, reminiscing
these days: ‘do you remember so
and so and this and that ’. ”
That was the beauty of marrying
someone from the same area, he
— N Z ME-Bay of Plenty Times
The secret to 71 happy years of marriage
PICTURE: Bay of Plenty Times
Doug, 92, and Audrey, 90, Attrill in their home. The pair have been
married 71 years and met when they were in their early teens.
Social Development Minister Anne
Tolley has defended Child, Youth and
Family saying staff at the department
“are not the ones who beat their kids and
neglect these children” in comments she
made about a damning report into the
handling of the roast busters scandal by
A highly critical review into CYF ’s
involvement in the case was released
yesterday, and found a series of failings
within the department, chiefly that
questioning whether the roast busters’
behaviour was abuse meant CYF did not
properly consider how to care for the
young people involved.
The roast busters were a group of
mainly west Auckland youths who
bragged on social media about having
sex with drunk and underage girls.
In late 2011 police investigated
complaints by teenage girls in relation to
alleged offending by some of the roast
busters. Charges were not laid.
CYF was also involved in responding
to concerns about the group after
receiving six referrals involving a total of
14 young people.
operations would be improved,
including clearer instruction on record-
roles and responsibilities in relation to
harmful sexual behaviour and vulnerable
teenagers, Ms Tolley said yesterday.
This morning, Ms Tolley said the
review “just highlighted what we
suspected was there”.
“ We certainly hope the big overhaul
we’re doing will focus more on the
young people and less on process.
And politicians have to take some
responsibility for that. O ver the years
we have demanded of CYFs that they
respond to crisis and we’ve put resources
in to do that, so you end up shaping the
response of an organisation. ”
She added: “I’ve said all along that
we need a system that supports the
professionalism of our staff. We’ve got
some fantastic staff, but they need a
system that actually allows them to use
their judgment, have a good system that
then protects them.
“They’re not the ones who beat their
kids and neglect these children, they ’re
the ones that come in and clean up the
mess,” she said.
“ Too often we put too much emphasis
on what they ’ve done and too little on
what these negligent parents have done.”
The overhaul of the organisation was
“not going to be a quick fix”, she said.
“It’s going to take quite some time,
but yes, I’m confident that from what
I’ve seen . . . the direction I know they’re
taking, that it is a major change to the
system, and it is really focused and led by
the needs of the children.”
Labour’s spokeswoman for children
Jacinda Ardern said she did not blame
CYF staff, who were dealing with high
workloads because of a lack of resources.
“The report says that CYF social
workers spend 6% of their time
interacting with young people. That is
crazy, and obviously part of the problem.”
There was also a major problem with
how CYF made decisions about the case,
Ms Ardern said.
“Because police made the decision that
perhaps there wasn’t legal grounds for
them to inter vene, CYF then took their
cue from the police that perhaps there
was not a role for them.
“That ’s actually why it was exactly a
place for CYF to inter vene — their
threshold test was simply around child
harm, and that test was absolutely met.
They could have done something, and
The report is one of a number into
the roast busters case. In March a report
by the Independent Police Conduct
Authority found several deficiencies in
the original police investigations.
A man who died after the truck he was
in went over the edge of a Bluff wharf
was a “well-known” member of the Bluff
Local coastguard and divers found the
man, who was the sole occupant of the
truck, trapped inside the submerged
vehicle after police were called to the
area about 1.30pm.
The man died at the scene and
emergency ser vices had recovered
both the body and the vehicle by early
The man was a director of Bluff-based
jetboat company Mackraft.
South Port chief executive Mark
O’Connor said the man was a “well-
known person in the community” and
his death would “hit the township very
hard”, Mr O’Connor said.
The man was a local businessman and
not a South Port employee.
The port would be working closely
alongside the authorities investigating
the incident. — Otago Daily Times
Wharf crash victim ‘well known’
A commissioner will run the embattled
Southern District Health Board for a
further three years after an unprecedented
move by the Government.
A bill was introduced to Parliament
yesterday to exempt the board from
the 2016 DHB elections, enabling the
commissioner regime to stay in place
after December 2016.
The extension is a first for the health
sector, and the move is likely to be
compared to the lengthy delay restoring
democracy to Environment Canterbury.
It would extend the commissioner
regime until the 2019 DHB elections.
members of the public had never
attended the board’s monthly meetings
in large numbers.
Meetings were scrapped in June when
the board was dismissed.
Yesterday a spokeswoman for Health
Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman said a
return to an elected board next year had
not been promised.
However, earlier this year Dr Coleman
said the 2016 election would go ahead.
“The plan is really for the
commissioners to stay on as appointed
members of that board, and new elected
members to come on at the local body
election,” Dr Coleman said at a June 18
press conference at Dunedin Hospital.
In a statement yesterday, Dr Coleman
said the commissioner and her deputies
were “starting to turn around the deficit
However, at the June 18 press
conference Dr Coleman said the forecast
estimates ranged from $30 million to
$42 million and one of the tasks was to
“truly establish” the deficit.
Senior doctors’ union executive director
Ian Powell was sceptical about crediting
the commissioner team with improving
Mr Powell was not aware of any
material changes that had reduced costs.
Projected deficits were always prone to
fluctuation, he said.
Having no elected board members
meant a less open and accountable
“The downside is the lack of
transparency that follows from that.
There is much less reporting of what ’s
“There are no board meetings that are
open to the public. It is generally more
difficult for the staff to know what ’s
going on,” Mr Powell said.
Former board member Dr John
Chambers labelled the move “quite
“ I certainly was planning to stand for
election next year and was hopeful that
other health professionals would put
their hands up. ” Dr Chambers suggested
the move was due to anticipated
difficulty finding a willing chairman of
a re-elected board.
A chairman cannot receive the
ramped-up levels of pay received by the
commissioner and deputies, he said.
The pay rates compensated for making
“ unpopular decisions”, Dr Chambers
said. — Otago Daily Times
to run DHB
Convicted murderer and alleged
prison escaper Phillip John
Smith has been declined an early
release, although the Parole Board
supports him again being allowed
out temporarily, when the time is
Smith is accused of failing to
return to prison while on temporary
release and fleeing to Brazil in
November last year.
His latest hearing before the
Parole Board was last month and
he will be seen again in September
The board decided not to issue a
postponement order to delay that
and board members noted Smith
“appeared to have been on some
appropriate pathway ” at the time of
his alleged escape.
“ It is ironic, however, that the
(temporary release) privilege was
squandered through his own
actions,” says the board’s decision,
“ We are also supportive of Mr
Smith, at an appropriate time, being
returned to reintegrative activity
in accordance with departmental
Smith, 41, waived his right to
appear before the board but his
lawyer, Tony Ellis, was there and
before the hearing he told the board
he was unhappy with its previous
decision, released earlier this year.
Dr Ellis thought it implied Smith
was guilty of the alleged escape,
when he had denied charges laid
over the incident and was yet to
Smith is ser ving a life sentence
for murdering a man in 1995. The
man was the father of a boy Smith
indecently assaulted over a number
of years. — NZME
Parole Board declines Smith early release
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