Home' Greymouth Star : January 4th 2017 Contents 150 YEARS SINCE 1866
WEDNESDAY JANUARY 4, 2017
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Sun shines on
Coll in world
A roadside bach near Barrytown
was burgled yesterday. Greymouth
police prevention sergeant Paul
Watson said the Coast Road break-
in was reported about 5.30pm after
two men were seen entering the
building, alongside State highway
6. Police were following a lead this
morning with the vehicle the pair
were apparently driving described as
a white 1994 Toyota Curren saloon.
“If anybody has noticed a vehicle
fitting that description, please let the
police know,” Mr Watson said.
The Brunner Volunteer Fire
Brigade was called out to a Wallsend
bonfire lit by New Year’s Eve
revellers but in the event was not
needed. Fire chief Rob Lunn said
someone had thrown an accelerant
on the fire, and the “whoosh” had
probably prompted someone close by
to dial 111. By the time the brigade
arrived the fire was under control.
Brigades in Westport, Greymouth
and Hokitika all had a quiet
weekend. Hokitika fire chief Harry
Collett said things had been so quiet
it was “unreal”.
Haast was the wettest town on the
West Coast last year, and Westport
the driest. Metser vice figures follow
the traditional pattern — the further
north, the drier it got. Westport had
2456.2mm for the year, Greymouth
2671.4mm, Hokitika 3341.0 and
Haast 4206mm. Sunshine for the
year was measured at 1913 hours
in Greymouth and 1745.3 hours in
Fine with light winds
Although most couples have
experienced a long and awkward
period of silence after a row it is
unlikely to compare to a husband
and wife who have not spoken for
two decades — but continue to live
with each other. Otou Katayama,
from Nara, southern Japan, continues
to live with his three children
and wife, Yumi, who perseveres
in making conversation with him
but has only ever received a nod
or a grunt in response for 20 years.
The Japanese couple’s silence was
revealed by their 18-year-old son
Yoshiki, who wrote in to a tv show
asking them to fix the situation as
he had never heard them have a
conversation. And sure enough, a
meeting was arranged between them
in the park where they had their
first date, as their emotional children
watched on. Otou later explained
that he has been giving her the cold
shoulder out of jealously for the
attention and care the children get.
— Daily Mail
Car parks are overflowing, motels are
full and West Coast hot spots packed
to the rafters as the tourism season gets
into high gear.
At Franz Josef Glacier, the glacier
car park has been regularly full, and on
December 28 alone more than 6100
At Punakaiki, vehicles are parking
anywhere and everywhere, and people
are having to queue for the toilets.
At high tide, the viewing platforms at
the blowholes are full.
Tourism West Coast chief executive
Jim Little said even today most
Greymouth motels had ‘no vacancy ’
signs out and the Tranz Alpine tourist
train was filled with six or seven
carriages each day.
Mr Little said the season was not
expected to peak until mid-January.
“Generally it’s on a par or better than
last year — and last year was up on the
year before by quite a bit.”
He said they were starting to see
some dispersal of tourists, with the
first Chinese tour buses now visiting
Craig Findlay, from the Punakaiki
campground, said they were busier than
“ We were expecting it to be busier
than last year. The Kaikoura thing is
impacting,” Mr Findlay said.
Outside the blowholes the car park
was full and motorists were parking
wherever they could.
“ Hopefully improvements do happen
or it’s going to be madness,” he said,
referring to plans to boost parking and
toilet facilities at Punakaiki.
DOC conservation ser vices manager
Wayne Costello, of Franz Josef, said
the car park at the glacier was so full
yesterday that people were parking up
and down the access road. It was built
to take 140 vehicles and had regularly
been overfull lately.
“Buses couldn’t get in,” Mr Costello
“This time of year it’s normal.”
DOC track counter figures show
December was the busiest on record
at the glacier. A total of 96,000 people
visited the valley this December — up
20% on last year. The busiest day was
6103, on December 28.
Whataroa tourism operator Gray
Eatwell, who runs Alpine Fault Tours,
said they had someone cancel their spot
on the tour because they could not find
“Resources are being tested. With the
growth proposed, to be honest, we’ve
got some serious work to do to keep up.
We don’t want to turn it into a negative,
with people being disappointed,” Mr
National Party list MP Maureen
Pugh said tourism expenditure on the
West Coast had grown by 9.8% in the
year since October 2015, and visitors
had spent $470 million.
Nationally, tourism expenditure was
forecast to grow by 65% to $16 billion
in 2022, Mrs Pugh said.
“ We recognise the need to maximise
the benefits of tourism growth,
while also balancing pressures on
local communities and infrastructure
challenges, so that we can maintain
high quality visitor experiences.”
She said the Government planned
to invest a further $45m over the next
four years, including $12m in regional
The Punakaiki Beach Camp
hosted two famous guests just
before Christmas — though staff
did not recognise them at first.
Borat film star Sacha Baron
Cohen and his actress wife Isla
Fisher have been holidaying in
They were spotted in
Queenstown and then made
their way up the West Coast.
The celebrity couple arrived in
the country early last week after
spending time in Fisher’s native
Fisher starred in Home and
Away, Scooby Doo and The
When they checked into
Punakaiki, management did not
initially recognise their famous
“Another camper mentioned it
(later),” Craig Findlay said today.
Baron Cohen and Fisher
were travelling with their three
children in a campervan.
“They were very friendly and a
lot of fun,” Mr Findlay said.
The Findlays believe a photo
uploaded to Fisher’s Instagram
page of the sun setting was taken
on the beach at Punakaiki.
Fisher also posted an
Instagram photo of herself and
an unidentified snowman in the
Southern Alps, and another of
the famous Cardrona bra fence.
Actress Isla Fisher watches the sunset at Punakaiki.
Sacha Baron Cohen and his wife Isla Fisher
Movie stars stay on Coast
A Dunollie family armed with a metal
detector chanced upon a 1908 Chinese
silver dollar coin while fossicking in an
undisclosed site around Runanga this
Matt Cousins regularly takes the
family metal detecting, and this week
they struck an unusual find. He would
not disclose the exact location but said it
was in Runanga and about 30cm deep.
The family has also unearthed
Victorian pennies and a King George
V 1911 medallion in the same area, but
this was the first time they had found a
Mr Cousins said his research showed
that similar coins could fetch from
$US50 up to $US3000 for one in mint
He keeps the treasures they find and
expects to be back out with the metal
“I enjoy the search.”
PICTURE: Laura Mills
Dunollie man Matt Cousins and his children, including Maddy, found this old Chinese coin while out
with a metal detector in Runanga this week.
Final eftpos figures for the West
Coast show good retail sales overall
in December, despite a 9% decline in
Boxing Day transactions.
Overall, Paymark reported the volume
of sales was up 8.9% and the value up
Nationally, most of that spending was
at supermarkets and grocery stores, and
a good deal also went to plumbers, car
repairers, travel and tourism operators,
government organisations and providers
of health, telecommunication and
financial ser vices.
The fastest growing sector last year
was accommodation (up 18.5%),
but clothing, footwear and personal
accessory retailing had below average
growth due to strong competition from
2016 spending up 8.9%
Glacier visitor numbers up 20%
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