Home' Greymouth Star : January 12th 2016 Contents Greymouth Star
Tuesday, January 12, 2016 - 7
The last time the woman, who became
known as David Bowie’s China Girl, saw
the singer, he broke up his own moment in
the limelight to come and greet her with a
It was “ordinary ” gestures like these
that Auckland woman Geeling Ng, said
made David Bowie not just a
great singing sensation but a great
“He was the most incredibly talented
person ... so warm and engaging,” said
the former model whose surname is now
Ching. “He took the time to be with
Hearing the news of his death yesterday
evening had deeply moved her, even years
after they had last seen each other.
“I’m really shocked, when you work with
someone like David ... it’s really sad.”
Ms Ching had starred alongside the
singing sensation in the 1983 music video
of his hit single China Girl.
“It was such an odd dream. It was like
someone else’s dream,” she said of her time
However, more than 30 years on, the
memory has lingered strong not just in Ms
Ching’s mind, but in many who saw her
play the role.
Just this weekend the successful
restaurateur said she had sat some
guests down at her downtown Auckland
restaurant when one called her on her past
But Ms Ching said the notoriety that
came with the name was no burden.
“I’m immensely proud, utterly proud to be
China Girl,” she said. “I’ll go to my grave
She said the experience had “changed
my life forever” and that it was an honour,
as a long-time Bowie fan, even before she
became known as China Girl, to have been
a part of one of his artistic masterpieces.
“I’m blessed to have been part of that
incredible talent, with someone who has
changed the world of music ... not just
music, but the face of fashion, makeup,
Ms Ching had hoped upon the release of
his latest album, Blackstar, just days ago,
that he would be back for a tour Down
Under in the near future.
“He’s just released a new album, I thought
we might see him on tour again, but
apparently we won’t,” she said. “ That ’s really
But despite this, Ms Ching said she
would always hold the time she had had
with David Bowie close.
“It was so special. The time I spent with
David I would never trade for anything.”
— New Zealand Herald
PICTURE: New Zealand Herald
Geeling Ng in the David Bowie video for China Girl.
When an ordinary NZer became
David Bowie’s China Girl
Recovering cars from a Dunedin beach
was not a “money-making exercise’’ and
should not have ended with a shouting
match at a police station, the men involved
in the salvage say.
Rhys McAlevey, of D unedin, said he
had no sympathy for Mahmoud Helal, Ali
Ibrahim and Hassan Almulla, believed
to be international students living in
Dunedin, whose three cars got stuck on
Tomahawk Beach about 9pm on Saturday.
“If they had rung someone when it
first happened, they would have got out
but they were trying to get out for the
cheapest price possible.’’ At 10am on
Sunday, at low tide, Mr McAlevey said
he offered to salvage the two cars stuck
furthest up the beach, a Nissan Maxima
and Toyota Corolla. The rescue required
two trucks, a Nissan Navara and a Toyota
A $50 fee for each truck driver was
agreed upon to cover any damage to the
trucks during the salvage.
“I didn’t come down here for a money-
making exercise; it’s about covering your
costs when you break something.’’ The
Nissan was salvaged and $100 was paid.
The Maxima could have been salvaged
but it was locked, the handbrake was on,
and the keys were missing, so it remained
on the beach, as the incoming tide
An attempt to winch the Toyota Camry
— the car closest to the surf — was
unsuccessful because it was buried deep in
sand and would not budge, Mr McAlevey
Mr McAlevey said he agreed to return
to the beach at 6pm on Sunday, after high
tide, for a second salvage attempt.
Blake Stanley, of D unedin, said when he
arrived at the beach about 4pm, another
man had “blown both of his front hubs
out ’’ attempting to salvage a car.
Mr Stanley towed out the broken car
with his Toyota Hilux.
When Mr McAlevey returned for the
second salvage attempt, he and Mr Stanley
agreed a fee of $200 per truck used during
Mr McAlevey said he and Mr Stanley,
and a man with a Landcruiser, who did not
want to be named, worked for about two
hours to recover the two cars. Mr Stanley
broke towing strops in the process.
When the salvage was complete the
situation turned ugly, Mr McAlevey said.
The students told the salvage crew to
follow them home for payment.
“They led us straight to the police
station,’’ Mr McAlevey said.
At the station, Mr McAlevey said
the students became aggressive and an
argument ensued until a student took
$200 from a wad of cash and swore at Mr
McAlevey and Mr Stanley.
The response was disappointing, Mr
“If they said we’ ll buy you a couple of
boxes of beers each and a feed, that would
have been that, but the annoying thing is
they had no intention of paying and lied
about it.’’ The three damaged cars were left
in the beach car park overnight and were
Yesterday, the Nissan and Corolla had
been removed but the Camry remained in
the Tomahawk Beach car park.
Dunedin City Council parking
enforcement team leader Daphne Griffen
said the council was trying to contact the
Camry owner to remove the car. If it was
not removed it would be towed at the
Yesterday, the council received two
complaints about the Camry being in the
Reilly’s Towage and Salvage owner Rob
Williams said if the students had called
Reilly’s on Saturday the vehicles could
have been towed.
A beach salvage was expensive because
parts of the salvage vehicle had to be steam
cleaned to stop rusting.
Towing vehicles from beaches was
annoying because it jeopardised his fleet.
“If you drive on the beach, you need
your head examined.’’ To salvage one car
from Tomahawk Beach would have cost
the students between $200 and $350. To
salvage the three cars would have cost
between $450 and $600.
Automobile Association spokesman
Liam Baldwin said if an AA member got
a vehicle stuck in the sand, the AA would
not recover the vehicle but would connect
the member with a tow truck contractor.
“Any recovery would be at the car owner’s
cost.’’ The AA had not received calls from
Mr Helal, Mr Ibrahim or Mr Almulla at
Southern police spokesman Nic Barkley
said police were called on Sunday and were
told to expect a group of men at Dunedin
Central Station about 7pm.
“They came into the police station,
there was a bit of an argument and we let
them know, because it was a civil matter
we couldn’t help them .’’ The argument
included shouting, he said.
Mr Helal, Mr Ibrahim and Mr Almulla
did not respond to inter view requests
yesterday. — Otago Daily Times
PICTURE: Otago Daily Times
Inspecting the Toyota Camry they helped salvage from a Dunedin beach are Rhys
McAlevey, 24, left, Ossian Woods, 18, and Blake Stanley, 20, in Tomahawk Beach car
Recovering cars not a ‘money-making’ exercise
Koby Brown, 22, hassled
Southland Hospital for his
appointment because his eyes
What he did not realise was
that he had permanently lost the
sight in one eye.
“I went to a doctor and they
told me I was blind.
“I didn’t realise it — the left
eye had been compensating for
the right one.”
Mr Brown, of Gore, is one of
a group of Southland patients
whose care was compromised
by delays in the Southland
which the Southern District
Health Board has previously said
was “over whelmed” by patients.
Diagnosed about three years
ago with juvenile glaucoma,
a hereditary condition, the
forestry worker was supposed to
be checked by a specialist every
But he says staff told him to
be “patient ” because the hospital
“They pushed it back five to six
“I was getting quite sore eyes.”
He was given no date for an
appointment, and had to push to
be seen. By the time he got an
appointment, in September, it
had been about 10 months since
the previous one.
“I used a few colourful words
at the time.
“I wasn’t very impressed about
it all, and I’m still not very
impressed about it, but there’s
not much I can do about it now.”
He had been cleared to return
to work but had been unable to
because of severe discomfort in
his right eye. Doctors had been
unable to determine the cause of
Having partial sight would not
prevent him returning to the job
“There’s a heap of people out
there with only one eye who
work in forestry.” Describing
the department as “chaotic”,
Mr Brown is sceptical of
health board assurances that
departmental resourcing has
“They just can’t keep up.” Mr
Brown blames management
for the situation, rather than
He believes he ought to receive
He is one of two patients in
their 20s to suffer partial sight
Four older patients who were
also affected were referred to as
a “cluster” in the 2014-15 serious
adverse event report.
The patients suffered vision
loss after delays in treatment
when too few appointments
were available, the report said.
issues to managers, but there
was an acceptance that because
difficult,” the report said.
As the younger patients’ issues
were in the current financial year,
they were not in the report.
The board had apologised
to Mr Brown, for whom the
episode exacted a financial toll.
“I do have a mortgage to pay.”
Mr Brown was seeking support
from ACC, and the corporation
Last month, acting chief
medical officer Richard Bunton
said externally led investigations
were under way into Mr Brown
and the other younger patient ’s
case, and the department now
had more staff and support.
overwhelmed with numbers of
patients,” Mr Bunton said last
A further request for comment
to health board management
yesterday was not answered.
In an OIA response last year,
the board acknowledged the
sight loss in the younger patients
might have been prevented if
their care had been adequate.
— Otago Daily Times
Staff asked for patience
as man went blind
Two trampers have been rescued in
the North Island after using emergency
beacons to call for help yesterday.
In the first incident yesterday morning,
a 32-year-old German tramper was
picked up by rescue helicopter after
injuring his ankle while tramping
inland from East Cape, according to a
statement released by Maritime New
The German man activated a spot
tracking beacon, with the signal picked
up by a co-ordination centre in the
United States, and the position passed
on to the Rescue Co-ordination Centre.
The beacon was activated at around
11am yesterday morning and the rescue
helicopter picked the man up about
30km northwest of Ruatoria just before
He was taken to Whakatane hospital.
RCCNZ search and rescue mission
controller Tracy Brickles said the
man had suffered what appeared to be
an ankle sprain and was unable to
“He was off the beaten track but very
well equipped,” she said.
“The whole operation went smoothly
and was completed within about three
hours.” Yesterday afternoon a 63-year-
old Wellington man was rescued by the
Wellington Westpac Rescue Helicopter
after suffering a cut to his head on a
tramp from Kaitoke to Cone Hut in the
“He had borrowed a registered
personal locator beacon for the tramp
and details of the trip were obtained
from his emergency contact.” After
activating the beacon at 3pm, the man
was at Wellington Hospital within an
hour, the statement said.
It is a legal requirement to register
beacons — this can be done
for free at www.beacons.org.nz .
— N ZM E -New Zealand Herald
Trampers rescued after
using emergency beacons
A Christchurch bus
driver who made a toilet
stop says he was robbed
The bus driver told
police he had stopped
outside a toilet block
at Broadhaven Park in
Parklands on Saturday at
He says two men armed
with a knife approached
him and demanded
“They fled the scene in
a white vehicle travelling
east along Ascot Drive
with a number of coins
from the driver’s cash box
and the driver’s wallet
and personal cellphone,”
said constable Justin
The two men are
described as European in
their late teens or early
20s and of slim build.
One with short brown
hair was wearing a
and blue jeans, the other
with short black hair was
wearing a black Adidas
top and black tracksuit
pants. — NZME
Three people were
rescued in the early hours
of this morning after a
fishing boat hit rocks in
the Bay of Islands just
At 3.50am a distress
signal was sent from the
12m longline charter
vessel saying it had hit
were paged to respond
to the incident on rescue
vessel Bay Rescue which
departed Doves Bay
Marina at 4.20am.
The boat was found
north of Whale Bay
on rocks and was 90%
was notified because of
the 1600 litres of diesel
on board the vessel.
Three people were
found nearby under a cliff
in Howe Bay, shaken and
mildly hypothermic but
They were transported
by the Coastguard rescue
vessel back to Doves Bay
Marina to an awaiting
Smith said this was
example of search and
rescue teams working
“The fact that the vessel
had multiple forms of
communication on board
meant that when one
failed another was able to
be used, greatly reducing
the search area and time
taken to locate the vessel
and its crew,” she said.
Coastguard Bay of
Islands were paged out
from their homes to
respond in the early
hours and now return
back to base and continue
with their day jobs. It’s
Three rescued after
fishing boat hits rocks
Bus driver robbed
Lifeguards are “devastated” after a man
died while swimming at Wellington’s
popular Oriental Bay yesterday.
The man was thought to have died after
having a heart attack when swimming.
Three lifeguards were on duty and were
alerted when the man was found face
down in the water, Surf Lifesaving New
Zealand (SLNZ) said.
Lifeguards responded and helped move
the man from the water, performing
CPR until paramedics arrived.
SLNZ lifesaving and education
manager Allan Mundy said lifeguards
were devastated at the man’s death.
He said if the man had a cardiac arrest,
the onset would have been fast and there
would have been no obvious signs of
distress such as “splashing about in the
water or calling for help”.
“It was a calm and still afternoon in the
bay and none of the people swimming
near or around the man reacted to his
situation, suggesting it was possibly
sudden and silent,” Mr Mundy said.
“ With millions of beachgoers each
year, lifeguards will often be required
to respond to a wide range of medical
events that are outside of standard
patrolling operations. Unfortunately, as
in this case, some of those events are
catastrophic and the patient can not be
revived. O ur sincere thoughts are with
the man’s family and friends.” The man
was 63 and died at Wellington Hospital,
3 News reported.
“A man came and told the lifeguards
and they got him. They were doing
CPR on him for about 10 or 15 minutes
before the ambulance came,” 12-year-
old witness Navi Devgun said.
The girl said she saw a crowd of
people around the man who were
“ working pretty hard” to try to help him.
Lifeguards ‘devastated’ after
man dies while swimming
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