Home' Greymouth Star : December 12th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Saturday, December 12, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
1792 - Ludwig van Beethoven, aged 22 and
newly arrived in Vienna, notes in his diary he
has 15 ducats: enough for his first music lesson
with Franz Joseph Haydn.
1804 - Spain declares war on
1889 - Death of Robert Browning,
1896 - Guglielmo Marconi gives
the first public demonstration of
wireless in London.
1915 - First all-metal plane, known as the
Tin Donkey, flies for the first time.
1920 - Martial law is declared in Cork,
1925 - “ World’s first motel”, the Motel Inn,
opens in San Luis Obispo, California.
1930 - “ World’s first milk bar” is opened in
Sydney by Clarance and Norman Burt.
1939 - Death of Douglas Fairbanks senior,
swashbuckling US actor.
1955 - First prototype of the hovercraft is
patented by British engineer Christopher
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Edvard Munch, Nor wegian artist
(1863-1944); Frank Sinatra, US singer-actor
(1915-1998); John Osborne, English
playwright (1929-1994); Connie
Francis, US singer (1938-); Dionne
Warwick, US singer (1940-); Sheree
J Wilson, US actress (1958-);
Jennifer Connelly, US actress (1970-
); Mayim Bialik, US actress (1975);
Dan Hawkins, UK musician (1976-).
“There are two cardinal sins from which all
the others spring: impatience and laziness.”
— Franz Kafka, Czech author (1883-1924).
“And the crowds asked him, “ What then
should we do?” In reply John said to them,
“ Whoever has two coats must share with
anyone who has none; and whoever has food
must do likewise.” — (Luke 3:10-11).
A small but
of Greymouth and
enthusiasts had only just a signal to work on
in February but less than 12 months later,
the dogged determination, toil and sweat of
a handful has given Greymouth something
which has exploded to a fever. It is called
It has been a long and hard road, an
unrewarding task, but the miners and
businessmen, with limited resources, unner ved
by raging controversies, have stopped at
nothing to achieve their goal.
Today the Grey Valley Televiewers’ Society’s
success is self-evident. Television masts are
sitting beggingly atop chimneys at all points of
the compass, new ones, bigger ones are pouring
in daily, each earmarked for an anticipatory
A farm cadet scheme will be established on
the West Coast, provided sufficiently interested
farmers to employ boy cadets are available.
To achieve this and determine the interest in
the scheme, a Christchurch authority on the
subject will be invited to address a meeting at
which farmers and prospective cadets will be in
At yesterday ’s West Coast Federated Farmers
meeting Mr S M Wallace said two things to
be considered were the status of the individual
after qualifying and what it was worth to
him. He said he was sympathetic to the boy
who wanted to work at being a fully-qualified
farmer. He considered the Canterbury scheme
was a good one.
Members agreed that it was in the interests
of farming to fully train a youth in an
apprenticeship as a farmer.
uFood for thought
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in Sunday’s election
exceeded even their own
hopes: they won more
than two-thirds of the
seats in the National
Assembly. It may be
the beginning of the
end for the ‘Bolivarian
revolution’ launched by
the late hero-leader Hugo Chavez 17 years
ago — but it will also plunge the country
into a prolonged period of conflict and
Credit where credit is due: the election
was conducted in an exemplary fashion
although the government knew it was
going to lose. Even when the scale of
the opposition’s victory became clear,
President Nicolas Maduro took the
high road: “I call on all of our people to
recognise these results peacefully, and to
re-evaluate many political aspects of the
However Maduro, who took over when
Chavez died in March 2013, does not
intend to preside over the funeral of
Venezuelan socialism. When he said “our
people”, he meant the Chavistas who still
support the ‘revolution’, and the fact that
they were now obviously a minority of the
Venezuelan people went unmentioned.
As did the fact that it was not actually a
revolution at all: Chavez came to power
legally and peacefully in the 1998 election.
The real question is whether Maduro and
those around him will consent to leave
power the same way. His vague rhetoric
— “ we have lost a battle today but now is
when the fight for socialism begins” — is
designed to leave that in some doubt. It
may be a real fight, perhaps including
violence in the streets, because many
Chavistas will feel duty-bound not to let
this historic experiment fail.
Excuse the deliberate lapse into antique
Mar xist-speak, but that is how they talk,
and it illustrates how misleading the
revolutionary rhetoric is. Because the
Chavista era in Venezuelan history was
not a historic experiment at all — not,
at least, unless you think that building
a welfare State with oil revenues is a
revolutionary idea (in which case
Saudi Arabia also has a revolutionary
True, the Chavistas are rather bigger
on the notion of equality than the Saudi
royal family, but what they were actually
doing was not controversial in principle.
They sought and won power through
democratic means. Like left-wing
politicians in early 20th-century European
States, they then set about improving the
income, health, housing and educational
level of the bottom half of society, as they
had promised they would.
The work of social uplift went a lot
faster in Venezuela because of the oil
money. (It has the world’s biggest oil
reser ves, and only 30 million people).
Chavez accomplished in a decade what
took countries like Britain, France and
Germany two generations. But by the end
of that time the European countries had
diversified industrial economies that could
pay for a welfare State. All Chavez left his
successors was oil.
So long as the oil income held
up, Chavismo was invincible.
Mismanagement and corruption grew, as
they often do when money is plentiful.
Arrogance grew too, as it usually does in
governments long in power, and protests
were increasingly met with physical
or legal violence. Still Chavez and his
successor Maduro won elections — until
the oil price collapsed.
In the past 18 months the world price
for oil has fallen from $140 a barrel to only
$40. Venezuela was already facing serious
unemployment and very high inflation.
Government-imposed price controls were
already creating predictable shortages of
staple goods like milk, rice, coffee, sugar,
corn flour and cooking oil. But when the
government ’s income collapsed, all those
problems went ballistic.
Of course Maduro lost the election.
In these circumstances, Chavez himself
could not have won it. Even Simon
Bolivar could not have won it. So now
the challenge that both the Chavistas
and the opposition face is how to manage
an orderly transition that respects
democracy, avoids violence, and preferably
also preser ves some of the social and
educational gains of the past 17 years.
The sheer scale of the opposition victory
makes this tricky, since it has a “super-
majority”: more than two-thirds of the
seats in the National Assembly. In theory,
that lets it do radical things like rewrite
the constitution. In practice, however, the
temptation to do that may not be very
great. The opposition’s super-majority is
vulnerable as it depends on a single seat (it
holds 112 out of 167 seats).
The first order of business of the new
National Assembly will be to pass an
amnesty law freeing some 70 leading
lights of the coalition’s various parties who
were jailed on highly questionable grounds
— but once freed they will try to reassert
their leadership of those parties, which
will probably undermine the fragile unity
of the coalition.
Nothing the new opposition-dominated
legislature does in the short term can
change the dire economic situation.
Maduro will still control the executive
branch, with a presidential mandate
that extends into 2019 — unless the
opposition forces a recall referendum on
his presidency, which it can legally do by
next April. The “experiment ” is over, but
the crisis is not.
Gwynne Dyer is an independent
journalist whose articles are published in
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro talks to the media during a news conference
at Miraflores Palace in Caracas after Venezuela’s opposition won control of the
legislature from the ruling Socialists for the first time in 16 years.
WORLD IN FOCUS
with Gwynne Dyer
The end of the Venezuelan ‘revolution’
December 25, 2014 and we were once
again sentimental and happy as we heard
the words proclaimed again, “peace on
Earth, goodwill toward men”. Would not
we all love to hear the angels proclaim
It was not far into 2015 before the guns
of war were sounding a different message
and men’s hearts filled with fear.
I like the old greeting Christians had:
“Peace be unto you,” whenever they
met. It is encouraging if it is from the
It is not peace on the lips we need.
It is peace in the heart, and that can only
be achieved when the Prince of Peace,
Jesus takes up residence in men’s
When we look around and see what is
happening in the world today there is
much to give rise to fear and disturb the
When men kill fellow beings in the
name of religion thinking they are
advancing the cause of God, but in reality
possibly denying them the opportunity
to make their peace with God, how
disturbing can that be?
But look up. Christ is coming again
and what a Christmas celebration that
Reefton Union Church
The bedroom murders
hey drank wine together,
the best part of a bottle, and
went to bed.
Soon after, they were
dead, gunned down by a
jealous and enraged ex-
lover described as a ‘gun nut ’, who would
lead police on a manhunt across Auckland
before turning his firearm on himself.
The violent saga unfolded at a sprawling
home in south Auckland in August 2013.
The victims were Trevor Hammond Waite,
51, and his friend Glenys Stanton, 47.
They had been seeing each other on and
off since meeting through the networking
meetup.com website in March.
The killer was 51-year-old John Mowatt,
who had met Ms Stanton through a
dating website in April. They had been
dating more seriously, until she called
things off on August 12.
He did not take it well and 11 days
later, he lay in wait at the home of Ms
Stanton’s new lover to exact his revenge.
When Mr Waite and Ms Stanton went
to bed, Mowatt shot his way through a
ranch-slider into the master bedroom and
murdered the lovers.
He fired 29 rounds.
Two days later, Mowatt, surrounded by
police at Woodhill Forest north-west of
Auckland, 82km from the blood-soaked
crime scene, turned his gun on himself.
Three people were dead, seven children
had lost a parent and police had to start
piecing together what had happened, and
A year later, they released the findings of
their investigation, and after taking advice
from the Crown Solicitor, stated that if
Mowatt had not died, he would have been
charged with the murders of Ms Stanton
and Mr Waite.
They believed the prospect of his being
convicted of the two murders was ‘likely’
but could take no further action and
referred the file to the coroner.
After reviewing the file, Coroner
Katharine Greig released her findings
yesterday. The full details of the murders
and of Mowatt ’s suicide can now be
Here, we dissect the 25-page report and
take you into what became known as The
The coroner’s ruling
Glenys Marie Stanton, 47, died from a
gunshot wound to her neck. She suffered
eight gunshot wounds, several of which
would have been inflicted after she died.
Trevor Hammond Waite, 51, died from
gunshot injuries to the chest and neck. He
was shot eight times and several wounds
were inflicted after his death.
John Donald Mowatt, 51, died from
a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his
head. Coroner Greig was satisfied that in
shooting himself, Mowatt did so knowing
he would die, thus his death was a suicide.
The bedroom murders: as it happened
Friday, August 23, 2013.
Trevor Waite and Glenys Stanton
planned to meet that night at his place on
Ponga Road, Opaheke, near Papakura. The
pair had been seeing each other on and off
for a few months but were not in a formal
Ms Stanton packed clothes and personal
items in an overnight bag and drove from
her home in Mt Eden to Ponga Road.
She sent a text to Mr Waite at 7.45pm
saying she would be there “soonish”.
Ms Stanton arrived at the house and
parked in the driveway. Intending to stay
over, she took her bag inside and placed it
in Mr Waite’s bedroom.
According to the coroner’s report, the
pair sat in the lounge drinking red wine.
They then headed to bed.
“The police reconstruction is that after
Mr Waite and Ms Stanton went to bed, a
person approached the house armed with
a .22 calibre semi-automatic firearm. This
person approached the master bedroom
and gained entry by shooting an area
of toughened glass on the ranch-slider,
around the locking mechanism,” the report
“Seven shots were required to shatter
the glass, based on curtain damage. Police
believe the person placed their hand
through the hole created to gain access to
the lock and open the ranch-slider.”
A forensic reconstruction revealed six
shots were then fired into the bedroom,
hitting the wall above the bed the pair
were in. The shooter, later identified as
Mowatt, then walked into the room and
opened fire on the lovers.
“In total, 29 rounds were fired within
the bedroom. Forensic examination shows
they were all fired from the same weapon.
“Mowatt then left the house via the open
ranch-slider door. He did not set foot
in any other part of the house,” Coroner
After an exhaustive investigation, police
ascertained that the pair were murdered
sometime after 9.09pm, the time of the
last text sent from Ms Stanton’s phone.
What Kelsey Waite saw
Kelsey Waite was 18 when her father
was murdered. For the most part she lived
with her mother in Papakura but was close
to Mr Waite and had organised to spend
some of the weekend he was killed at his
The coroner ’s report outlines how Ms
Waite found her father’s body. She has
declined to speak about her ordeal.
According to the report, Ms Waite tried
to get hold of her father on Saturday,
August 24, but had no luck. (He was
“Kelsey and her father were usually in
regular contact,” the report said, “and she
said that it was unusual that he did not
contact her on Friday August 23, or the
following day, and also that he did not
return texts from her over that period.”
Ms Waite had arranged for her and a
friend to stay at her father’s house on
Saturday night. They were to attend a
party at a house nearby and it was easier to
‘crash’ at her dad’s place than to find their
way back to Papakura.
On the way to the party, Ms Waite and
her friend called by her father’s house to
drop off a bag. They left it at the door and
did not go inside. At that stage, the house
was in darkness.
Not thinking anything was out of the
ordinary, the young women headed to the
At 11.30 that night, Ms Waite and three
friends arrived back at the Ponga Road
Her father’s car and another were parked
outside. She had not met Ms Stanton and
was not aware her father was seeing the
Again, the house was in darkness.
“The curtains in the sitting room and
dining room were closed and there were
two used wine glasses and a near-empty
bottle of wine in the kitchen. Nothing
seemed out of place,” said Coroner Greig.
The friends played music until 12.30am
and then two of them left. Ms Waite and
her other friend went to bed.
“They did not see or hear Mr Waite or
notice anything of concern,” the coroner
This is because, by the time Ms Waite
arrived home, her father had already been
murdered. In fact, he had likely been dead
for some time.
The teenager got up the next morning
and had breakfast. She then peered out
of her bedroom window and saw that her
father’s ranch-slider was open and there
was “black stuff ” on the ground outside.
“ Kelsey went to investigate. The curtains
in her father’s room were drawn and the
lights were off. She turned on the lights
and saw her father lying on the bed with
blood on his chest,” Coroner Greig said.
Ms Waite called 111 at 11.20am. Police
and ambulance staff were sent to Ponga
Road and found Mr Waite and Ms
Stanton dead. They had been shot multiple
times. A homicide investigation was
What the killer did next
Mowatt returned home to Waimauku.
His landlady saw him on Saturday
morning and said he was “quiet ”.
That evening, he sent an “affectionate
text ” to his 17-year-old son, followed by
another the next day apologising for the
disappointment he had caused.
Meanwhile, police were trying to
contact Mowatt. As part of the murder
investigation, they were reaching out to
all who knew Ms Stanton and Mr Waite,
including those they had connected with
on the websites.
Mowatt ignored police, and even though
he watched television news bulletins about
the murders, he made no reference to Ms
Stanton’s death to anyone.
On Tuesday, August 27, police contacted
Mowatt ’s mate John in a bid to get in
touch with Mowatt. John called Mowatt
and got no answer until about 10pm.
“ Mowatt rang John back. He told
John that he had firearms, was north of
Auckland and had ‘gone bush’. John told
him there were a lot of people looking for
him, including the police. Mowatt said, ‘I
guess you know why’,” the coroner’s report
John urged Mowatt to contact the police,
but he did not.
The police were starting to close in on
Mowatt. An alert had gone out on his
vehicle, and a security guard tasked with
locking up access roads to Woodhill Forest
overnight reported the same car left in a
Detectives investigating the homicide
were alerted and the armed offenders
squad (AOS), special tactics group and
Eagle helicopter were deployed.
“The plan was to take a cordon-and-
contain approach while the police
negotiating team attempted to contact
Mowatt by telephone,” the coroner’s report
The Eagle’s crew used heat-sensing
infrared imaging to find Mowatt and
spotted him at 11.25pm.
By 11.45pm, AOS staff were about 100m
away from Mowatt and could see him.
“ From their obser vation they considered
the person was not aware of the police
presence on the ground,” said the report.
Negotiators were poised to call Mowatt
when he shot himself.
AOS officers converged on him and
found he had a head trauma “incompatible
“They found a .762 rifle in a position
that made it clear that Mr Mowatt had
pointed the gun barrel at his head. A box
of ammunition and five live rifle cartridges
were also found.”
Anatomy of a tragedy
Mr Waite and Ms Stanton met on a
networking website in March. They dated
for a while, until Mr Waite went on
holiday overseas in June.
When he returned, they started seeing
each other again from time to time. They
had a shared interest in tramping and
In April, Ms Stanton connected with
Mowatt on a dating website. The inquest
heard that although she initially enjoyed
spending time with him, even telling
friends she wanted to marry him, she later
decided the relationship was not working,
that she felt smothered by her new man’s
In early August, she told Mowatt she did
not want the relationship to continue. A
series of texts between the pair, found by
police, showed she was firm on the matter,
despite Mowatt ’s telling her he loved her
make the relationship work.
They carried on seeing each other, but
by then Ms Stanton was seeing Mr Waite
According to the police, on one occasion,
Mowatt arrived uninvited at Ms Stanton’s
home and found Mr Waite there.
“This was witnessed by a friend who was
also visiting who said that Mr Mowatt
behaved in a very possessive manner
towards Ms Stanton,” Greig said in her
About three weeks before the murders,
Mowatt told a good friend that he had
broken up with Ms Stanton.
Reporting suicide allowed
When reporting suicide, the media are
bound by strict rules under the Coroners
The Herald cannot describe a death as
“suicide” unless the Chief Coroner has
granted an exemption to the rules or a
coroner makes a finding that a death was
Reporting the method of self-inflicted
deaths is restricted, unless an exemption
However, in the case of Mowatt,
Coroner Greig authorised the publication
of the specifics of his death.
She said it was appropriate to publicise
the entirety of her decision following the
inquest. — New Zealand Herald
In August 2013 a double murder, and the suicide of the killer shocked New Zealand. Three people were
dead, seven children left without a parent and their families and friends reeling. Yesterday the coroner’s
report into the murder suicide was published.
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