Home' Greymouth Star : December 11th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Friday, December 11, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
1282 - Llewelyn, the last native-born Prince
of Wales, is killed in a battle with the English
near Aber Edw.
1792 - France’s King Louis XVI faces
charges of treason. He is convicted, and
executed the following month.
1894 - World’s first motor show
opens in Paris with nine exhibitors.
1901 - First transatlantic radio
signal is sent by Italian Guglielmo
Marconi from Poldhu in Cornwall
and received by Percy Wright Paget
in St John’s, Newfoundland.
1928 - Police in Buenos Aires, Argentina,
thwart an attempt on the life of US president-
elect Herbert Hoover.
1930 - Bank of the United States in New
York fails and closes all its 60 branches.
1936 - George VI becomes King of England
following abdication of Edward VIII.
1941 - United States declares war against
Germany and Italy in World War Two.
2006 - Former Fijian military leader and
prime minister Sitiveni Rabuka is found
not guilty of two charges of inciting a 2000
2013 - Holden announces it will stop
manufacturing in Australia in 2017.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Russian writer and
Nobel laureate (1918-2008); Betsy
Blair, US actress (1923-2009);
Jean-L ouis Trintignant, French
actor (1930-); Donna Mills, US
actress (1940-); Teri Garr, US actress
(1947-); Jermaine Jackson, American
entertainer, (1954-); Nikki Sixx, US
rock musician (1958-); Viswanathan
Anand, Indian chess player (1969-); Mos Def,
American rapper and actor (1973-).
“ Better by far you should forget and smile
than that you should remember and be sad. ”
— Christina Rosetti, British poet (1830-1874).
“The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid,
Mary, for you have found favour with God. ”
— (Luke 1:30).
Lounging in the
sun on the doorstep
of his mother’s home
in Perotti Street, Dr
Owen McCarthy said in his slight Australian
drawl: “It seems to me that with existing
technical knowledge, the ultimate potential
of farming in Westland is such that we could
expect about a 200 to 300% increase in stock
“ Disastrous,” was his succinct reply when
speaking on the lack of a farm advisory officer
Dr McCarthy is well qualified to speak on
farming in Westland. He is senior lecturuer
in agricultural economics at the University
of Queensland. He shortly leaves for the
University of California where he will spend
12 months carrying out research.
Dr McCarthy received his initial education
in Greymouth at the Marist Brothers’ High
School. From Greymouth he went to Lincoln
College where he graduated as a Master
of Agriculture, doing his Masters thesis on
farming in the Westland county.
A ‘heatwave’ which sent temperatures soaring
to over the 70degF mark hit Greymouth and
the rest of the West Coast today. In Mackay
Street tar laid over recent road works melted to
a semi-liquid state.
Christmas-laden shoppers crossed the street
in much the same manner as they would cross
a small stream. Cars travelling down the centre
sent stones flying in all directions.
This is the hottest day in Greymouth this
summer and when the noon check of 70degF
was taken temperatures were still rising.
Temperatures were described as extremely hot
in the upcountry areas.
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
Greymouth Evening Star Co Limited
3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
03 769 7900 (office)
769 7913 (editorial)
768 6205 (fax)
03 769 7913
03 755 8422
Aimee van der Weyden
of the Westport News
Lyn and Jill De Thier could not be
happier they swapped the hustle and
bustle of Rangiora for a quiet, relaxing
retirement in Westport.
The couple moved to Westport in
August and became the first success of
the Move to Westport campaign — an
initiative set up by local real estate agents
and the Buller District Council to attract
Canterbury-based retirees to Westport.
The News caught up with the De Thiers,
to see how they were finding life on the
Mr De Thier said Westport reminded
him of Rangiora in the 1970s, before
it became “just another suburb of
Rangiora had become too busy for them
— it was no longer the quiet farming town
The Christchurch earthquakes played a
big part in Rangiora’s change. The quakes
themselves were ner ve rattling — Mr De
Thier was in the CBD when the February
2011 quake struck — but the aftermath
was more than they could handle, he said.
“I got sick of traffic, sick of people
everywhere ... you can’t go into
Christchurch from Rangiora now before
9am or after 3pm — it’s jammed up.
“ We just needed a change.”
They could not get over how friendly
Westport locals were, or how many friends
they had already made, he said.
They joined Club Buller a couple of
weeks after moving.
One evening there, Mr De Thier was
asked by a fellow member, “I suppose
you think you’re a Coaster now?”, to
which he replied, “No, but I plan on
Mrs De Thier said she loved Westport’s
lack of shopping malls. She had done all
her Christmas shopping locally — there
was no need to go anywhere else, she said.
“There’s not a thing we’ve had to go
to Greymouth or Christchurch to buy
because it wasn’t here.”
Going to the doctors in Westport,
compared to Rangiora, was also
significantly cheaper, she said. “ This is the
ideal place to retire.”
However, Mr De
Thier was a workaholic
and was technically
no longer retired, she
said. Since moving,
he had started
working part time as a
caretaker at Tai Poutini
Westport was not
the De Thier ’s first
choice for their dream
After Mr De Thier
finished work as a
mechanic for St John
in Christchurch, they
decided to look at
properties on the West
Coast. They had family
in Hokitika, so looked
But they failed to find
a house they loved and
fate, it seems, stepped
“That same weekend,
we opened up the paper
and here was this big
advert on Westport, so
we thought, right we’ll
go to Westport and
have a look,” Mr De
They did not expect
to buy a house on their
first visit, but that is
what they did.
They had to race home
and put their Rangiora
property on the market
— luckily it sold within
Mrs De Thier said
moving house was
something neither of
them wanted to do ever
again. They had sheds
full of possessions, a
house full, a caravan and
two vintage cars.
There were some “ very
trying moments” during the move, she
said. One of the vintage cars nearly fell off
the transporter during the journey.
“ While we were trying to get it off
backwards it took off for wards and went
over the front. ”
Their daughter, who lived in Canterbury,
and son who lived in Australia, were very
supportive of the move. They had already
been told Christmas would be in Westport
next year, Mrs De Thier said.
n 2005, when the British film
producer Jonathan Cavendish
took his children to see Sir
Peter Jackson’s remake of King
Kong, he was not fully aware of
the hi-tech wizardry behind its
astounding special effects.
Among the millions who saw The L ord
of the Rings, there was a sub-section
who were aware of the science that
turned Andy Serkis into Gollum and
was now being brought to his starring
part in King Kong. Cavendish was not
one of them. He was blissfully ignorant
of ‘performance capture’ and its artistic
“I came across King Kong as a punter,”
he recalls. “But I was really moved by the
relationship between the digital creature
King Kong and the character played
by Naomi Watts. I was so moved that,
embarrassingly, I cried in front of my
children. I just didn’t understand what
was happening, because a collection of
pixels does not usually achieve that kind
Then his producer’s brain kicked in.
“I went away and looked up how King
Kong had been made. I was amazed
to discover that inside King Kong was
Gollum (Serkis). I mean, I had no idea.”
Memorabilia from Lord of the Rings
films and King Kong will be part of
a new movie museum to be built in
Wellington, which will house items from
the personal collections of Sir Peter and
special effects whiz Sir Richard Taylor.
Cavendish, a laidback 50-something,
has the kind of insouciant charm you
often find in the movie business.
He is also a quintessentially English
enthusiast for cinema, best known for
the Bridget Jones films. He says he was
looking for a movie-making collaborator
when, by chance, mutual friends
introduced him to Serkis.
“My father once told me: either be the
best in the world at something or find
somebody who is the best in the world
at something — and work with them.”
He looks affectionately across the table at
Andy Serkis. “ I chose the latter route.”
Gollum changed everything for Serkis,
placing him at the leading edge of a
revolution in cinematic production. The
technology exploited by Sir Peter inspired
a new way of representing fantasy figures
from classic fiction: if the director could
now record almost every aspect of an
actor’s performance and transform it
into a screen character, the actor was also
liberated to fully inhabit the role.
When The Lord of the Rings ended,
Serkis imagined returning to the life of
a jobbing actor. Up until then he had
mainly worked as a character actor in
British tv, with a string of good but not
spectacular credits, including The Darling
Buds of May, Finney and Oliver Twist.
“I thought Lord of the Rings was the
end of the line,” he recalls. “But then
Peter asked if I wanted to play King
Kong. It was only at that moment that I
went: ‘ Wow! This new technology enables
you to go from playing an ex-hobbit to a
Cavendish vividly remembers the first
time they got together to discuss film.
“In the smoky and mildly debauched
atmosphere of Blacks (a members’ club)
in Soho, west London, we bonded over
vodka martinis.” He laughs: “ We talked
for hours about films and music and
books we both loved and quickly realised
we shared a passionate desire to tell
stories, in new and different ways.” The
upshot was the Imaginarium, a creative
laboratory based in Ealing, west London,
founded in 2011. The name was derived
by Serkis from the “vivarium” of Victorian
times, in which animals were kept in a
semi-natural state. In reality the office
is a highly “virtual” landscape, a grotty-
looking rehearsal space ringed with 50
cameras and a battery of computers.
They are already working on some
impressive projects, including Animal
Farm and The Jungle Book.
“ We’re very British,” says Cavendish.
“But also international, with outward-
looking, global ambitions. And I
think the Andy Serkis factor is vital
to our success. Andy is internationally
recognised and has given his name to a
cutting-edge production company that ’s
dedicated to developing new technology
and new stories.”
I am here to talk to them about
the project that will be on television
screens soon: Raymond Briggs’s 1970s
cartoon classic Fungus the Bogeyman,
starring Timothy Spall, Victoria Wood,
Keeley Hawes and Marc Warren. The
Imaginarium’s version falls somewhere
between a digital extravaganza, animated
film and state-of-the-art prosthetic
pyrotechnics, but with all the emotional
and crowd-pleasing heft of traditional
film — Ealing entertainment in its purest
For the Imaginarium, the role of
Fungus, whose daily task is to terrify
the terrestrial world of ‘dry cleaners’
(Bogeyman slang for humans), is
performed by Timothy Spall, who
cheerfully embodies the dirt-dwelling,
filth-eating monster who moves in next
door to the ‘dry cleaners’ of Daventry
with bizarre, slimy and entertaining
consequences. “A year ago,” says
Cavendish, “the wisdom in the industry
was that the kind of detailed effects we’ve
achieved with Fungus couldn’t be done,
but we’ve found a way to do it.”
Since launching the Imaginarium,
Serkis and Cavendish have made huge
strides in educating their profession in
the possibilities of performance capture,
and in allaying actors’ fears that CGI
meant the death of their trade.
“There was a lot of resistance when
we started,” says Serkis. “But that ’s now
completely gone. Actors are queueing up
to explore this new world, and extend
Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett,
Tom Hollander and Naomie Harris
turned up for an intense two-week
session in the Imaginarium’s virtual
landscape for The Jungle Book. Christian
Bale is also in it, but could not leave
Los Angeles — though such is the
adaptability of the Imaginarium that
Serkis and Cavendish were able to
‘capture’ Bale’s contribution separately in
Hollywood and seamlessly insert it into
“For the actors it ’s like being on stage,”
says Serkis. “Or like being in rehearsal.
They say the same thing: that there’s
no limit. Once they ’ve got used to
the technology, they feel they can do
anything. The key to the new technology
is its fidelity to the actor’s performance,
to the character. It’s not a question of the
actor being smothered by special effects.
The exciting thing is that it liberates
— New Zealand Herald
Gollum’s leap forward
PICTURE: Westport News
Jill and Lyn De Thier in the lush garden at their new home in Westport.
Living the retiree dream in Westport
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